Prosecutor: FedEx shooter didn't have 'red flag' hearing

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A body is taken from the scene where multiple people were shot at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Friday, April 16, 2021. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS – A former employee who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis never appeared before a judge for a hearing under Indiana's “red flag” law, even after his mother called police last year to say her son might commit “suicide by cop," a prosecutor said Monday.

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said authorities did not seek such a hearing because they did not have enough time under the law's restrictions to definitively demonstrate Brandon Scott Hole’s propensity for suicidal thoughts, something they would need to have done to convince a judge that Hole should not be allowed to possess a gun.

The “red flag” legislation, passed in Indiana in 2005 and also in effect in other states, allows police or courts to seize guns from people who show warning signs of violence. Police seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole, then 18, in March 2020 after they received the call from his mother.

While recovering the shotgun, one of the responding officers also witnessed “white supremist websites” on Hole’s computer after the teen asked officers to cut the power to his computer, according to a police probable cause narrative from the 2020 incident released Monday.

Mears said that prosecutors were limited in their ability to prepare a “red flag” case against Hole following that incident due to a 2019 change in the law that requires courts to make a "good-faith effort” to hold a hearing within 14 days. An additional amendment required them to file an affidavit with the court within 48 hours.

“This individual was taken and treated by medical professionals and he was cut loose,” and was not even prescribed any medication, Mears said. "The risk is, if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person. That’s not something we were willing to do.”

Indianapolis police previously said that they never did return the shotgun to Hole. Authorities have said he used two “assault-style” rifles to gun down eight people, four of them from the city’s Sikh community, at the FedEx facility last Thursday before he killed himself.

Police on Monday identified the high-capacity weapons used by Hole, who was 19 at the time of the shooting. One was a Ruger AR-556 Hole purchased in September. The second was an HM Defense HM15F he bought in July, just months after police had seized the pump-action shotgun. A Ruger AR-556 also was used last month in a shooting that killed 10 people in Boulder, Colorado.