INDIANAPOLIS — The tragedy at FedEx is now sparking changes to how Indiana’s red flag law is prosecuted in Marion County.
Prosecutor Ryan Mears previously came under heavy criticism for not filing a red flag case against the suspected shooter in the mass murder.
Following a meeting between police, prosecutors and a judge last week, from now on all red flag reports taken by IMPD will end up in the court room of judge Amy Jones.
That shifts some of the responsibility for filing those cases away from the prosecutor’s office.
In March 2020, police were called to the home of Brandon Hole after his mother reported her son wanted to attempt suicide by cop.
Police seized a shotgun and placed Hole on a temporary hold, but after the family agreed to forfeit the firearm, prosecutors did not to file a petition with the court to determine if Hole was an ongoing threat which would have potentially banned him from buying any guns.
Hole then legally purchased two assault rifles months later, which he used to kill eight former coworkers at the FedEx Ground facility.
Following those tragic events, a Marion County judge decided to change how red flag cases are handled.
“What the judge has asked us to do from a law enforcement perspective is simply to file what amounts to a search warrant after the fact to the court,” said IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey.
Bailey says following a meeting with judge Amy Jones, IMPD will have 48 hours to file all red flag cases with Jones’ court and two judges will decide whether to hold a hearing on the issue with 14 days.
“I think people should take solace to know their criminal justice partners are working together with the court to make sure the process is fair to be the person being accused of being dangerous, but also takes public safety into account as well,” said Bailey.
When court hearings are requested, the prosecutors office will still play an important role prosecuting those cases and will now employ a second prosecutor to assist in those reviews.
“It’s still a close partnership with the prosecutors office because at the end of the day the prosecutor has to present evidence in court in order to get that person declared a dangerous person,” said Bailey.
The prosecutors would also still like to see state lawmakers can work on close loopholes in the current law, banning people who have weapons seized from buying new weapons until after a judge rules on the case.
Even if those changes are implemented, there would still be ways for suspects on a red flag list to purchase guns.
“There will still be an issue, not just in Indianapolis but across the country, of how easy it is to get your hands on a gun,” said Bailey.
The prosecutor’s office declined to comment on camera, but claims some of these discussions had started before the FedEx shooting, but were obviously accelerated by that tragedy.