INDIANAPOLIS — Local and federal prosecutors explained Wednesday what they believe was the motive for a mass murder.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department along the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District announced they have completed the investigation into the deadly mass shooting at a FedEx facility on the southwest side of Indianapolis that occurred this spring.
On April 15, eight people were shot and killed at the FedEx ground facility on Mirabel Road. The gunman, identified as 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole, then turned the gun on himself and ended his life.
The eight people who were killed were FedEx employees ranging in age from 19 years old to 74. Four of the victims were members of the Sikh community.
“This was a call that no police department, no agency, no law enforcement officer ever wants to respond to. While this concludes our investigation, we will always remain focused on what is most important: the eight members of our community who lost their lives because of this senseless act,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.
Before taking his own life, police insist the gunman choose his victims at random.
“He was very indiscriminate in his selection of his targets,” said IMPD deputy chief Craig McCartt. “He kind of walked up and down the sidewalk and fired at anyone who was out there.”
IMPD provided this detailed rundown of the events that night:
Immediately prior to the shooting, IMPD investigators learned that the shooter entered the FedEx building and spoke with security. He exited out of the facility and returned to his vehicle in the parking lot and recovered two weapons, later identified as a Ruger AR-556 and a HM Defense HM15F.
While the shooter was walking back to the employee entrance, he shot and killed one employee outside. He then re-entered the business for a second time and immediately began firing his weapons at employees inside the entry area.
At that point, the shooter was unable to go further into the facility but fired several shots at victims beyond the security gate. The shooter then exited the building and continued shooting in the parking lot, striking several more victims. The suspect re-entered the business a final time and took his own life.
After months of investigation and over 120 interviews, IMPD and the FBI concluded that Hole acted alone in the shooting and that no other individual was involved or had any prior knowledge of Hole’s intent.
Investigators say Hole’s attack did not appear to be motivated by any racial bias nor did he appear to be trying to advance any ideology. Instead, Investigators say Hole was only motivated by the desire to commit suicidal murder.
Based on interviews and documents reviewed by investigators in the month’s prior to the attack, Hole was said to have had suicidal thoughts almost daily and that he had even attempted to commit suicide on more than one occasion. Hole had not previously been diagnosed with mental illness but had struggled with mental health stressors throughout his life.
Hole was also known to law enforcement as police responded to a mental health call at his home in March of 2020.
Investigators determined Hole considered other targets for his attacks but chose the FedEx location due to his familiarity with the location since he was a former employee of the facility.
FBI studies have found that 73 percent of attackers have had a previous connection with the target location.
“Only the shooter knows all the reasons why he committed this horrific act of violence. However, at this time, the FBI is confident that, based on the evidence collected, the assessment of the Behavioral Analysis Unit is accurate and the shooter did not appear to have been motivated by bias or a desire to advance an ideology,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan.
Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur issued this statement:
“For months, we have asked local and federal law enforcement for a thorough and transparent investigation of this horrific attack–including their best effort to attempt to understand the shooter’s motive. While we recognize that it is impossible to know exactly what was in the shooter’s mind, we are disappointed that the IMPD and FBI still have not detailed how they ruled out bias as a possible motive in their accounting of the investigation.”
“The shooter chose a place known for hiring people of color, specifically a Punjabi Sikh-majority, for his attack; we don’t know why he chose this location, but we now know the attack was planned at least nine months in advance. It was also previously reported that IMPD officers knew of white nationalist content on the shooter’s computer during their investigation of his home a year before the shooting, yet this went unaddressed in the press conference until a reporter asked about it; SAIC Keenan recognized that an ‘extremely small percentage’ of the content found on the shooter’s computer dealt with World War II and Nazi-related content, but rather than address the obvious interest in that ideology, he said there ‘was no indication of any animosity against the Sikh community or any other community.”
“To reiterate, we are not dismissing that mental health issues nor the toxic masculinity discussed during the press conference played a role in this attack. But it is important to recognize that bias can be a factor in addition to these other issues. We still believe that the IMPD and FBI could have provided more information about how and why they ruled bias out, and been far more forthcoming and transparent about relevant details during this press conference and throughout the course of their investigation. Though law enforcement has said this investigation is over, for all the families who lost loved ones, the survivors, the Sikh community, and anyone else impacted by hate violence, these questions will remain forever.”
While many of the victims were of Sikh descent, federal prosecutors maintain there’s no evidence Hole had any animosity toward that specific community.
“We join with our law enforcement partners in the conclusion the suspect was primarily motived by the desire to commit murder suicide,” said acting United States attorney John Childress.
The FBI also offered this explanation of their findings:
At this time, based on the evidence gathered to date, it has been determined that the 19-year-old shooter acted alone in this incident. Investigators have found no one else was involved or had prior knowledge of the incident. The shooter’s attack did not appear to have been motivated by the need to address perceived injustices or to advance an ideology but was an act of suicidal murder. This is a term intended to convey the murders were a function of a primary desire for suicide.
The IMPD and FBI considered all factors for this attack, including if it was racially or ethnically motivated. After conducting an exhaustive investigation and review of all evidence – to include digital media – no indication of racial bias was found to have played a part in this horrific tragedy.
Regardless of the suspect’s motive, investigators admit knowing the reason why won’t bring back the lives of those lost or heal the wounds caused by the senseless crime.
“These incidents are tragedies. This was an attack on residents and who were just trying to do their jobs,” said IMPD chief Randal Taylor.