Governor: Indianapolis ‘still in shock’ over FedEx shoot
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The governor of Indiana told members of the Sikh community and others who gathered at a football stadium in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday to remember the eight people killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse that he knew their angst over the attack was far from over. .
The three-hour event at Lucas Oil Stadium came two weeks after a former FedEx employee shot and killed all eight people, including four members of the Indianapolis Sikh community, before committing suicide. Authorities did not disclose a motive during the April 15 shooting.
Under the open roof of the stadium, Republican Governor Eric Holcomb said in his opening remarks that the capital “is still in shock from this dark night”.
“Never in my wildest imagination have I seen this day or this cause of coming together as a reason for our unification,” Holcomb told the hundreds of people in attendance at the stadium where the Indianapolis Colts are playing. “Why does a day have to be so dark?” Why must tragedy strike and tear apart a community, tear humanity apart? This pain is sure to persist as we continue to live with the loss in all of our days to come.
In a letter read aloud during the ceremony, former Vice President Mike Pence underlined the particular grief of the Sikh community, whose members “add to the tapestry of this country”.
“Know that our hearts and prayers are with you all,” Pence, a former governor of Indiana, said in his letter. “We join our fellow Hoosiers in the State of Indiana and Americans across the country in expressing our sincere condolences. … You have been in our hearts since that horrible night and you remain in our prayers today.
A monotheistic religion founded more than 500 years ago in the Indian region of Punjab, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with approximately 25 million followers, including approximately 500,000 in the United States.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said his message to the Sikh community, immigrants and “anyone who feels threatened by this act just because of who they are” is that they are “welcome in Indianapolis, and it’s the responsibility of each of our residents to make sure you know it’s true. “
Hogsett, a Democrat, also reiterated his previous calls for changes in gun policy, saying the shooting could have been avoided. He said the city, state and country were “overdue for transformative action.”
Authorities said Brandon Scott Hole, 19, had two guns he could buy legally, even after his mother called police last year to say her son could kill himself by a cop. Marion County District Attorney Ryan Mears has come under heavy criticism for choosing not to continue with hearings that could have prevented Hole from gaining access to the guns.
“When gun violence takes a life, it affects us all,” Hogsett said.
Private services for victims of the Sikh community are also expected to take place in the coming week. The procedure will begin with cremation, followed by up to 20 days of reading Guru Granth Sahib’s 1,400-page scripture.
The families of the victims have been granted around two dozen expedited visas so that relatives abroad can travel for funeral rites, said Amrith Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition. They come just days before the United States restricted travel from India – a response spurred by an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.
Casey Smith is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative Corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on secret issues.