FedEx shooting victims seek compensation from Indianapolis

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The FedEx shooting that happened on April 15, this year was a devastating shock for Marion County, especially for the Sikh community as they had lost many family members.

Now several members who were injured or lost family members are seeking compensation from Indianapolis over the failure to file a red flag case against the shooter.

A letter written on October 12, by the Sikh Coalition on behalf of the victims, to the Indianapolis city shows Harpreet Singh, Lakhwinder Kaur and Gurinder Bains are each requesting $700,000 in damages from the city. The letter was obtained by The Indianapolis Star, through an open records request.

The Sikh Coalition spokesperson Graham West told indica, “No lawsuit has been filed by the Sikh Coalition or our legal partners with regard to the tragedy in Indianapolis. What several folks have reported on is a notice we filed that simply leaves the door open to the potential for a lawsuit later.”

Amrith Kaur Aakre, Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, representing the case told indica, “We are statutorily required to provide adequate notice to the City of Indianapolis and Marion County within a certain time period to protect our clients’ rights if they decide to move forward with a lawsuit related to last April’s tragedy. Accordingly, we submitted this notice of claims last month to meet that obligation. We remain in close conversation with our clients about their injuries and ongoing needs as we continue to chart the course forward and work on these matters.”

According to a letter the Sikh Coalition’s attorneys representing the victims said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office violated a requirement in Indiana’s red flag law when they decided not to file a case with the courts to suspend the killer’s gun rights in March 2020. The victims claim the law doesn’t give authorities discretion, meaning they must file such cases with the courts.

Indiana’s red flag law, among the first of its kind in the nation, lets law enforcement officials confiscate firearms without a warrant from people who they believe are a danger to themselves or others. A judge then sets a hearing to decide whether the person is, in fact, dangerous. If so, police may keep the weapons for at least six months and the person is prohibited from purchasing or processing firearms.

More than a year before the FedEx shooting, police removed a shotgun from the killer Brandon Hole after he threatened to commit “suicide by cop.” Because no red flag case was filed in court, he was later able to legally purchase the two rifles he used to carry out the FedEx massacre. The shooting left eight people dead and injured at least five others.

“All three of our clients suffered losses as a result of the underlying failures of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office that could have prevented the mass shooting incident,” the letter says.

“Claimants are also open to a combination of monetary and non-monetary relief that adequately compensates them for their injuries while also preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future,” the letter says.

Four of the eight people killed in the shooting were members of the Sikh community: Amarjeet Kaur Johal, Jasvinder Kaur, Jaswinder Sing an Amarjit Sekhon. Karli Smith, Matthew R. Alexander, Samaria Blackwell and John Weisert were also killed.

In 2013, police were called to his house after his mother alleged that he punched her in the face and stabbed her with a kitchen knife. In the weeks before the shooting, he told social workers at Eskenazi Health that he had attempted to commit suicide and had no empathy for anyone.

He also made multiple comments to law enforcement defending white supremacism, his mother told IndyStar. When they removed his shotgun in March 2020, police officers said they observed what they believed was white supremacist material on his computer.

The FBI and Indianapolis police later concluded that the FedEx shooting was not racially motivated.