The city of Indianapolis effectively denied a request for over $2 million in compensation made by three members of the Sikh community affected by a mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility last April.
Harpreet Singh, Lakhwinder Kaur and Gurinder Bains, who were injured or lost family members in the April 15 attack, each requested $700,000 in damages from the city. They claimed that local officials failed to pursue a court hearing that could have prevented the shooter from accessing guns used in the attack.
Government agencies that receive such notices can agree to pay the victims or deny the request. The city’s silence is the equivalent of a denial, which opens the door for victims to respond with a lawsuit.
Talking with indica, the Sikh Coalition working, in this case, agreed city of Indianapolis’s denial on compensation.
Amrith Kaur Aakre, Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, representing the case told indica, “To reiterate, no lawsuit was ever filed against the city or county. As our investigation into last April’s tragedy continued, we and our legal partners were statutorily required to submit a notice within a certain time period if we wanted to preserve the option of filing a lawsuit in the future. Through our investigation, we and our legal partners determined that a number of challenges would preclude us from moving forward on this particular path.”
“We remain committed to providing resources and support to not just our clients but the broader Indianapolis Sikh community. Our ongoing work includes consulting on outstanding worker’s compensation issues, facilitating available mental health resources, and looking ahead to the one-year anniversary of this tragedy.”
The Sikh Coalition Legal Director has mentioned earlier, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County prosecutor’s office failed to follow Indiana’s red flag law when they decided not to file a case with the courts to suspend the shooter’s gun rights in March of 2020.
The “red flag” legislation, which became law in Indiana in 2005, allows police or the courts to seize guns from people who show signs that they might be violent.
The lawyers said the law doesn’t give the authorities discretion and that they must file such cases with the courts. Had such a case been filed, the mass shooting could have been prevented, according to the letter that serves as a tort claim notice, which precedes a formal lawsuit.
Police said Brandon Scott Hole, 19, used the attack as an act of “suicidal murder.” Eight employees, including four members of the city’s Sikh community, were killed and five others were injured.
Hole, a former FedEx employee, was able to legally purchase the two rifles used in the shooting, even after his mother called police in March of 2020 to say her son might attempt “suicide by cop.” Police seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole, then 18, when responding to his mother’s call.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears has since faced sharp criticism for choosing not to pursue the red flag court hearing that could have prevented Hole from accessing the guns used in the April attack. Mears said shortly after the attack that prosecutors didn’t pursue such a hearing because they didn’t have enough time under the law to definitively demonstrate his propensity for suicidal thoughts.