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Saturday, May 15, 2021

4 Sikhs among 8 killed in Indianapolis shooting; Indian embassy reaches out

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday morning expressed “deep shock” over the killings and offered to “render all possible assistance”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: April 18, 2021 10:22:17 am
4 Sikhs among 8 killed in Indianapolis shooting; Indian embassy reaches outInvestigators at the scene following a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. (Reuters)

Four Sikhs, including three women, were among eight people killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility — staffed by a large number of Indian-American employees — in Indianapolis, the capital of the US state of Indiana.

The Indian embassy in the US has reached out to the local authorities, as India’s Consul General in Chicago Amit Kumar spoke to the Mayor of Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett, who assured full support. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday morning expressed “deep shock” over the killings and offered to “render all possible assistance”.

4 Sikhs among 8 killed in Indianapolis shooting; Indian embassy reaches out Family members await information about their loved ones who work at the FedEx facility after a mass casualty shooting in Indianapolis, Indiana, US April 16, 2021. (Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA Today Network via Reuters)

Late Friday night, the Marion County Coroner’s Office and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) released the names of the victims.

They are Amarjeet Johal (66), Jasvinder Kaur (64), Amarjit Sekhon (48), Jaswinder Singh (68), Karli Smith (19), Samaria Blackwell (19), Matthew R. Alexander (32) and John Weisert (74).

One of the injured, Harpreet Singh Gill (45), was hit by a bullet near the eye and is in hospital.

“The Indianapolis police have identified the victims of the tragic shooting incident…, which include persons from Indian-American Sikh community. Our consulate in Chicago is in touch with the local authorities in Indianapolis as well as the community leaders, and will render all possible assistance, as required,” the Indian embassy in the US said.

The gunman was identified as 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole, a former employee. He allegedly died by suicide after the shooting on late Thursday night at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis. He was last employed by FedEx in 2020.

4 Sikhs among 8 killed in Indianapolis shooting; Indian embassy reaches out People embrace after learning that their loved one was safe after a mass casualty shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, US April 16, 2021. (Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA Today Network via Reuters)

This is the worst Sikh massacre in the US after the Oak Creek Gurdwara mass shooting in Wisconsin on August 5, 2012, where seven members of the community were killed.

About 90 per cent of the workers at this delivery service facility are said to be Indian-Americans, mostly from the Sikh community.

US President Joe Biden ordered the national flag to be flown half-staff at federal buildings. “Vice President Harris and I have been briefed by our homeland security team on the mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, where a lone gunman murdered eight people and wounded several more in the dark of night,” Biden said.

(With PTI input from Washington)

The victims: ‘He was going to get his first cheque’

Jaswinder Singh

He had just started working at the FedEx facility this week and had told everyone how excited he was to get his first pay cheque, according to family member Harjap Singh Dillon. He was working the night shift sorting mail. “He was going to get his first cheque,” Dillon said. “He didn’t get it.” Singh lived with his son in the Indianapolis suburb of Homecoming. He was 68.

Amarjit Sekhon

Sekhon moved to Indiana from Ohio to be closer to family. She leaves behind two sons, ages 14 and 19, according to Rimpi Girn, a niece. She began working at FedEx about six months ago on an overnight shift from 11 pm to 11 am. She was 48.

Jasvinder Kaur

Kaur was all set to cook for a large family celebration for her granddaughter’s second birthday on Saturday. “And today we’re gathering to plan a funeral,” said Girn, who is also Kaur’s daughter’s sister-in-law. Kaur was 64.

Amarjeet Johal

Johal’s granddaughter, Komal Chohan, said she had many relatives who worked at the FedEx facility. Johal was 66.

Source: NYT & PTI

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