INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Relatives of five of the eight people who were shot and killed last year at an Indianapolis FedEx warehouse by a former employee sued the shipping giant and a security company on Monday, accusing them of negligence and failing to ensure that the workplace was safe.
The federal lawsuit, which names as defendants the FedEx Corporation, three of its operating units and Securitas Security Services USA, alleges that gunman Brandon Scott Hole, 19, had “exhibited emotional and mental instability on multiple instances” before the April 15, 2021, shooting.
The suit contends the defendants “knew or should have known of Hole’s potentially violent and dangerous propensities, which were reasonably likely to result in injuries to himself and others.”
The families’ complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, seeks unspecified damages.
The plaintiffs are relatives of shooting victims Amarjeet Johal, 66; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Jasvinder Kaur, 50; John Weisert, 74; and Karli Smith, 19.
The families of the three other people killed — Matthew R Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; and Jaswinder Singh, 68 — are not involved in the suit.
Johal’s youngest son, Gary Johal, said that hurt and pain remain ever-present for him and his relatives nearly a year after her death.
“It sucks that we have to go through this when this whole incident was 100% preventable,” he said at a news conference with two of the plaintiffs' attorneys.
The suit alleges that FedEx should have taken additional security measures to protect the Indianapolis facility’s staff in light of previous mass shootings at other FedEx facilities, including an April 2014 shooting at a FedEx center in an Atlanta suburb where a gunman wounded six people.
After Hole arrived at the Indianapolis facility, he confronted Securitas security staff and “began banging on a door and causing a disturbance,” according to the lawsuit, which also contends the actions should have been recognized as those of a potentially dangerous person.
The suit accuses Securitas of failing to adequately train its staff to respond to dangerous or potentially dangerous situations, and failing to realize that Hole was “a potential threat.”
After he was denied entry to the building, the suit states, Hole returned to his car and opened fire minutes later in the parking lot and then at the facility’s entrance, killing the eight victims and wounding five other people.
“Obviously there wasn’t enough in place," said Melvin L. Hewitt, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.. “It’s our position that it was an entirely preventable."
FedEx said in a statement that it was aware of the lawsuit and was reviewing the allegations. The company added that it continues “to mourn the loss of our team members in the senseless tragedy.”
Securitas Security Services USA said it does not comment on pending litigation.
Indianapolis police and federal authorities said at a July 2021 news conference that Hole, a former FedEx employee, acted alone and used the attack as an act of “suicidal murder.” Four of the victims were Sikh, but authorities said the attack was not racially or ethnically motivated and that Hole believed he would “demonstrate his masculinity and capability” while fulfilling a final desire to experience killing people.
Hole was able to legally purchase the two rifles he used in the shooting, even after his mother called police in March of 2020 to say her son might attempt “suicide by cop.” Police seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole, then 18, when responding to his mother’s call.
Lawyers for the victims have said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County prosecutor’s office failed to follow Indiana’s red flag law when they decided not to file a case with the courts to suspend Hole's gun rights in March of 2020.