The Sikh Coalition expresses sorrow at horrific violence that has shaken the Sikh community in the area and across the US
At least four of the eight victims of the Thursday night shooting at the FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis were part of the local Sikh community. The warehouse employed many Sikhs, and on Friday, relatives confirmed the deaths of Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Amarjit Sekhon, 49; Jaswinder Singh, 70; and Amarjeet Johal, 66.
“A significant number of workers at FedEx processing center (near Indianapolis airport), where the shooting took place Thursday night are from Sikh community” said the Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor.
Deputy Chief Craig McCartt on Friday afternoon identified the gunman as 19-year-old Brandon Hole, who was last employed by FedEx in 2020. “Hole was found dead of a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted,” McCartt said.
No further information about his possible motive has been released at this time, but we fully expect that authorities should and will conduct a full investigation–including the possibility of bias as a factor.
The Sikh community in Indianapolis has grown in recent years. The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, a large gurdwara, was built about 20 years ago, and has grown from about 50 families to about 1,000 members, according to the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University.The community is known for its long history of service, supporting victims of natural disasters and, during the coronavirus pandemic, organizing food drives and grocery delivery for older people. An annual Sikh day parade started in Indianapolis about six years ago.
In a statement, the Sikh Coalition said it “is deeply saddened to confirm that at least four Sikh community members are among those killed during Thursday night’s mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Sadly, we acknowledge that this number is subject to change for the worse as more information becomes publicly available and those who were injured are treated at area hospitals”.
“I am heartbroken to confirm that my naniji (maternal grandmother), Amarjeet Kaur Johal, is among those killed in the senseless shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis,” said community member Komal Chohan.
Photo caption: Amarjeet Kaur Johal in yellow dress.(one of the victims)
“We are still working to identify others who were injured and killed on Thursday night. I have several family members who work at the particular facility and are traumatized. My nani, my family, and 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.”
“I have sat with families from our community and so many others at the Holiday Inn Express as they wait to hear the fates of their loved ones,” said community member Maninder Singh Walia. “These kinds of violent attacks are a threat to all of us. Our community has a long road of healing–physically, mentally, and spiritually–to recover from this tragedy.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of this horrific violence,” said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition Executive Director. “While we don’t yet know the motive of the shooter, he targeted a facility known to be heavily populated by Sikh employees, and the attack is traumatic for our community as we continue to face senseless violence. Further traumatizing is the reality that many of these community members, like Sikhs we have worked with in the past, will eventually have to return to the place where their lives were almost taken from them.”
In a statement, Ajay Shah, President, World Hindu Council of America, expressed sorrow at the killings. “Many of these victims were Indian American followers of the Sikh tradition – Amarjit Kaur Sekhon, Jaswinder Kaur, Amarjit Kaur Johal, Jaswinder Singh. A random act of violence such as this brings immeasurable suffering to the families of victims. We stand ready to help them in this hour of need. Such acts remind us that as a society, we must address mental health issues more holistically,” Shah said.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday expressed shock at the mass shooting incident and prayed for strength to the families of the victims. In a tweet today, the Punjab Chief Minister said, “Shocked by the mass shooting incident at FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis which took the lives of 8 people including 4 Sikhs. Pray for strength to their families in this hour of grief.” Eight people were killed in the shooting at Indianapolis on Thursday night (local-time).