At least eight people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late Thursday before also killing himself, police said.
Multiple other people were taken to hospitals with injuries, police said.
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The shooting was reported shortly after 11 p.m. and officers arrived to an active shooter incident, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Officer Genae Cook told reporters.
She said the gunman killed himself at the scene. Authorities found eight bodies during a search, she added.
That number did not include the gunman, whose motive and connection to the facility were unclear.
Cook said an investigation was underway.
“This is a tragedy,” she said.
FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith said the eight killed were FedEx employees.
“This is a devastating day, and words are hard to describe the emotions we all feel,” Smith said in a statement.
“I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and co-workers of those team members,” he said, adding that counselors were on site at the facility to provide support.
Five people were taken to hospitals, including one person in critical condition, according to police. Two others were treated at the scene, the department said Friday morning in a statement.
But there were also people who went or who were taken to hospitals privately, Cook said, and police were gathering information. No law enforcement officers were hurt, she added.
A FedEx employee told NBC’s “TODAY” show that he was sitting outside the building when he heard what he initially thought was a car with engine problems. He soon realized the sound was actually gunfire.
“And when I stand up, I see a man — a hooded figure — I was unable to see his face in detail however,” Levi Miller said.
He said the man had a rifle “and he started shouting, and then he started firing in random directions.” He couldn’t tell what the gunman was yelling. “I thought he saw me and so I immediately ducked for cover,” Miller said.
Family members were waiting at a nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel early Friday to hear if their loved ones were safe while police chaplains provided support, WTHR photojournalist Joe Fenton tweeted.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett offered prayers to “the families of those whose lives were cut short” and thanked the “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,” he said in a tweet.
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.
— Mayor Joe Hogsett (@IndyMayorJoe) April 16, 2021
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered flags to be flown at half-staff.
“This is another heartbreaking day and I’m shaken by the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis,” he said in a statement. “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.”
U.S. Rep. André Carson, D-Indiana, whose district includes Indianapolis, said that he was heartbroken by the incident.
“I am heartbroken by the mass shooting at the FedEx facility here in Indianapolis and praying for all affected by this tragedy,” he said on Twitter. “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.”
There have been several mass shootings in the U.S. in recent weeks, including an April 8 shooting at a cabinet company facility in Bryan, Texas, that left one person dead and five others wounded.
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a series of executive actions aimed at tackling what he called a national “epidemic.”
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it is an international embarrassment,” Biden said at the time.
His proposals, which are likely to face legal hurdles, are aimed at reducing mass shootings, suicides and domestic violence.
They aim to limit so-called “ghost guns,” which can be assembled at home without traceable serial numbers, and make it easier for relatives to flag family members who shouldn’t be allowed to buy firearms.
Biden is also seeking to reduce access to stabilizing braces, which can effectively turn a pistol into a more lethal rifle while not being subject to the same regulations that a rifle of similar size would be.
The president will be briefed on the shooting later Friday morning, a White House official told NBC News. The White House chief of staff has been in touch with Indianapolis’ mayor, according to the official, who added that the Homeland Security advisor is in contact with law enforcement.
Gun violence in general has skyrocketed in recent years.
The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that tracks gun violence in the U.S., found that more than 19,000 people died in gun homicides last year. This was the the highest yearly figure in more than two decades, up by nearly 25 percent from 2019.