INDIANAPOLIS — As the community continues to process a mass shooting where a gunman killed 8 at a FedEx facility on the southwest side, we are learning more about the people that lost their lives that night.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department identified the victims as:
- 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell
- 19-year-old Karli Smith
- 50-year-old Jasvinder Kaur
- 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal
- 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh
- 74-year-old John Weisert
- 48-year-old Amarjit Sekhon
- 32-year-old Matthew R. Alexander
Loved ones say 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell was the baby of her family.
Her family released a statement, calling her a straight A student with a love for people and a passion to serve.
Samaria worked as lifeguard for Indy Parks and dreamed of becoming a police officer one day. Avon police are collecting patches from law enforcement agencies across the country in support of the Blackwell family.
One childhood friend say living life as Samaria would is the best way to honor her.
“The way we can keep remembering her life is to unapologetically be ourselves, love everyone the way that she had loved us and just live life the way she would have wanted us to.”
A family member told us Karli Smith, 19, started working at the FedEx ground facility about two weeks before the shooting.
Karli was a student in the Indianapolis Public Schools district, attending School 46 and Crispus Attucks before graduating from Washington High School
A statement from the IPS district called her a hardworking and dedicated student.
During a vigil for the victims, Karli’s mother Karen Smith says she is trying to make sense of this new reality.
“It’s hard. I’m still on a roller coaster of emotions,” said Smith. “You’re sad and everyone’s texting you feel their heartbreak and their memories and it hurts you even more empathizing with their pain.”
Karli’s family says they last heard from her around 10:59 Thursday night. Police say the shooting starting around 11.
Jasvinder Kaur, 50, was one of four victims who were part of the Sikh community. She was related to another victim, 48-year-old Amarjit Sekhon.
Family describes the two as hard-working women who were so close they decided to work at the FedEx facility together.
66-year-old Amarjeet Johal was another member of the Sikh community killed in the shooting.
Her granddaughter Komal Chohan said several members of the family worked at the facility and are left traumatized.
She released a statement, saying in part:
“Our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough is enough — our community has been through enough trauma.”
Jaswinder Singh, 68, also represented the Sikh community.
A post on Facebook indicated Jaswinder started working at the facility a week before his death.
According to Facebook, he had recently moved to the US from India and was eager to find a job. He was looking forward to his first paycheck before his life was cut short.
74-year-old John Weisert was the oldest victim. His wife Mary Weisert was looking forward to celebrating 50 years of marriage to John this fall.
John was a retired engineer and took the job at FedEx four years ago to pay off extra debt.
Mary was among the many who waited for hours on Friday to learn whether her loved one was ok, calling the time passed unbearable.
“We don’t know anything because they don’t allow them to take their phone in there. I must’ve called four or five times,” she said (before she learned John was one of the eight who died.)
John worked as a package handler at the FedEx facility.
Amarjit Sekhon, 48, was another member of the Sikh community who lost her life in the shooting. As referenced earlier, she was related to another of the 8 killed, 50-year-old Jasvinder Kaur.
Those who knew Amarjit say she loved her family and devoted her life to them. They say she was working at FedEx to support her two sons as well as her husband who is disabled.
Her family says enjoyed showing her love through cooking.
32-year-old Matthew Alexander was working as a line-haul coordinator when shots rang out the night of the shooting.
Matthew graduated from Avon High School in 2007 where he played baseball. His teammates nick-named him “Automatic” for his big plays.
But for his childhood friend and college roommate Ryan Wegeng, the nickname went far beyond the baseball diamond.
“He was always there for you, could count on him, just one of those friends that you knew that they would be there for you and that’s tough to come by.”
FedEx established the Indianapolis 4/15 Survivors Fund through the National Compassion Fund for the victims and survivors of the shooting. The company itself made a $1 million donation to the fund. The goal, at last check, has been set for $1.5 million.