8 people killed in shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, police say
Jason Hanna, Alta Spells and Madeline Holcombe, CNN
(CNN) — A gunman opened fire outside and inside a FedEx Ground facility near Indianapolis’ main airport Thursday night, killing eight people, wounding several others and sending witnesses running before taking his own life, police said.
Police were called to the facility at about 11 p.m. local time for what has become the country’s deadliest shooting since 10 people were killed March 22 at a grocery in Colorado.
The names of the victims or gunman were not immediately released.
“The (gunman) came into the parking lot, and I believe he exited his vehicle and quickly began shooting. … The first shooting occurred in the parking lot, and then he went inside and did not get very far into the facility at all,” Indianapolis police Deputy Chief Craig McCartt told CNN early Friday.
“I think that it probably only lasted one to two minutes, from what we’re hearing,” he said.
The incident marks at least the 45th mass shooting in the United States since the Atlanta-area spa shootings on March 16. CNN considers an incident to be a mass shooting if four or more people, excluding the gunman, are shot and wounded or killed.
Police in Indianapolis arrived “to a very chaotic scene, with victims and witnesses running everywhere,” McCartt said.
McCartt said he believes the gunman killed himself as officers encountered him. No police officer fired, he said.
The motive for the shooting was not immediately known, Indianapolis police spokeswoman Genae Cook said.
Police have offered differing accounts of the wounded. McCartt said at least four survivors were taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds and a fifth was hospitalized with an injury believed to be caused by shrapnel.
In a news release, police said five people were taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds and two other people were treated at the scene and released.
The gunman had at least one weapon — “a rifle of some sort” — and investigators were trying to determine whether he had more, McCartt said.
Police early Friday were trying to make sense of the crime scene while relatives of FedEx employees gathered at a nearby hotel, which officials offered as a place where they could await news, reunite with the workers and meet with police chaplains.
“Many of the employees did not have cell phones on them in the facility,” and so many survivors were not immediately able to contact their families, McCartt said.
Several people tearfully embraced as they reunited Friday morning at the hotel, video from CNN affiliate WISH showed.
‘I thought I was going to get shot’
Two employees inside the building at the time heard as many as 10 gunshots, they told WISH.
At first Jeremiah Miller and Timothy Boillat thought the sound was from a car, but after hearing more, Miller stood up and saw a man with a weapon, he said.
“After hearing the shootings, I did see a body on the floor behind a vehicle,” Boillat said.
Before Boillat saw the body, he saw “somebody went behind their car to the trunk and got another gun,” he told CNN affiliate WRTV. Boillat did not say whether that person was the shooter.
The two men left the building and watched as about 30 police cars responded, they told WISH.
“Thank God for being here because I thought I was going to get shot,” Miller told WISH.
Police are asking anyone who was at the scene and may have left for safety or for medical treatment to contact them to provide information on the shooting.
Governor and other officials offer condolences
FedEx released a statement saying it was “deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members.”
“Our most heartfelt sympathies are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we are fully cooperating with investigating authorities,” FedEx said.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Friday is “another heartbreaking day and I’m shaken by the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis.”
“In times like this, words like justice and sorrow fall short in response for those senselessly taken. Our thoughts are with the families, friends, coworkers and all those affected by this terrible situation,” Holcomb said.
Flags will be lowered to half-staff from Friday until sunset Tuesday “in remembrance of those we’ve lost,” Holcomb said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett tweeted that as residents are “confronted with the horrific news of yet another mass shooting, an act of violence that senselessly claimed the lives of eight of our neighbors.”
“Thank you to all of our city’s first responders for their tireless work overnight. Their quick response provided critical aid to those injured in the shooting and brought a measure of calm to an otherwise chaotic scene,” Hogsett tweeted.
US Rep. Andre Carson, whose district includes Indianapolis, tweeted that he was heartbroken by the mass shooting.
“I am communicating with local authorities to get all details of the attack and my office stands ready to help everyone affected any way we can,” he said.