Four members of Indianapolis’ Sikh community among those killed


India Post News Service

At least four members of the Sikh community were among the eight people killed at the facility, according to national and local Sikh leaders. Among them was Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66 who took night shifts at the FedEx facility to support her family, including at least three grandchildren, according to the police.

Johal’s granddaughter, Komal Chohan, said she is “heartbroken” — and that several other family members who work at the FedEx facility are “traumatized.” “My nani, my family, and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere,” Chohan said. “Enough is enough — our community has been through enough trauma.”

Victims Jasvinder Kaur, 50, and Amarjit Sekhon, 49, were also part of the Sikh community, according to family member RimpiGirn. Indianapolis police provided a different spelling of Kaur’s name and both victims’ ages (Jaswinder Kaur, 64, and Amarjit Sekhon, 48).

 “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,” said Satjeet Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s executive director.

The number of people in Indianapolis practicing Sikhism that originated in northern India, has grown in recent years. About 8,000 to 10,000 Sikh Americans live in Indiana, according to the Sikh Coalition.

Authorities released the identities of those killed in Thursday (15 April) night’s shooting and said they had made notifications to next of kin.Officials identified the victims as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74.

Victim Amarjeet Kaur Johal, who had attended Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis for at least four years, was a hard worker, taking night shifts at the FedEx facility to support her family, including at least three grandchildren, said Gurpreet Singh, the temple’s president.

Kamaljt Kaur, who is in charge of the kitchen, remembered Johal was often smiling, either while cooking for the hundreds of members who attend the temple or cleaning up.“She never refused to do any chores,” she said.

Relatives have identified several of the victims in the mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Jasvinder Kaur, 50, and Amarjit Sekhon, 49, are among the eight dead, according to RimpiGirn, a family member. She said Sekhon was her aunt and Kaur was her sister-in-law’s mother, but she was close to both and likes to refer to them as her mothers or aunts.

Both were members of the Sikh community in Indianapolis. Kaur immigrated to the United States from India to be with her daughter, who is a citizen, Girn told The Washington Post. She also has a 26-year-old son back home in India.

Sekhon moved to Indiana from Ohio two years ago and had two teenage sons, Girn said.

Jaswinder Singh was also identified as one of the victims, by his nephew, 27-year-old Harry Singh. In a statement, FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said Brandon Hole’s mother contacted law enforcement in March 2020 to report the possible suicide, and Indianapolis police placed him on an “immediate detention mental health hold.” Keenan said FBI agents interviewed Hole the next month because of “items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time.”

Keenan said a shotgun was seized at Hole’s residence, and it was not returned. He said no “Racially Motivated Violent Extremism” — an FBI term generally used to refer to those motivated to commit crimes based on race — was identified during the FBI’s assessment, and “no criminal violation was found.”

An Indianapolis FedEx employee was 10 minutes late to his 11 p.m. shift Thursday night. “When I get home tonight, I’m going to wrap up my little girl and actually tell her how much I love her,” he said, crying.

He texted back three words to answer her question.“Yes I am.”

The ominous dispatches for 8951 Mirabel Rd. started flooding the police radio in Indianapolis shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday.

Someone relayed a report of “10 shots, from near the front of the entrance … possibly from the inside. No further seen or heard. Less than one minute ago,” according to audio archived by Broadcastify.

Indianapolis police identified the gunman as Brandon Hole, 19. Hole worked at FedEx until 2020. Hole had been mentioned in a couple of previous police reports, including one from roughly 2013 and another in which law enforcement seized a gun from him about a year ago. Detectives investigating the shooting have served search warrants at several locations. At least 100 people were in the FedEx facility when the shooting happened, including many who were changing shifts or on their dinner break, McCartt said.

President Biden has stated that gun violence “stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation” as he ordered that flags at the White House and other federal properties be lowered to half-staff yet again.

In a statement in which he called gun violence an “epidemic,” Biden also reiterated his call for Congress to pass universal background checks and an assault weapon ban.

“We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives,” Biden said.

Biden said that he and Vice President Harris had been briefed on the shooting in Indianapolis — “just the latest in a string of tragedies, following closely after gunmen firing bullets in broad day light at spas in and around Atlanta, Georgia, a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and so many other shootings.”

He noted that just a week ago he announced several executive actions on gun control during an event at the Rose Garden in the White House and that the Indianapolis shootings came just before the 14th anniversary of a mass shooting at Virginia Tech in which a gunman killed 32 people.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in America,” Biden said. “But we should not accept it. We must act. … Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation.”

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