By Reena Bhardwaj
Indianapolis [US], April 17 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Friday (local time) called the Indianapolis mass shooting that has killed at least eight people including four people belonging to the Sikh Community as a "national embarrassment".
Biden who is faced with yet another mass shooting on his watch, during the news conference in the White House Rose Garden said, "It's not always these mass shootings that are occurring -- every single day, there's a mass shooting in the United States, if you count all those who are killed out on the streets of our cities and our rural areas," "It's a national embarrassment and must come to an end."
Fredrick Smith, Chairman and CEO of FedEx on Friday (local time) called the incident as a 'senseless act of violence' and extended condolences to the kin of those who lost their lives in the shooting.
"I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and co-workers of those team members. Our priority right now is in responding to the situation on the ground and helping our team members and law enforcement. We have a team onsite in Indianapolis to provide support, and we are making counsellors available," Smith wrote in a statement.
"This is a devastating day, and words are hard to describe the emotions we all feel. Please keep the Indianapolis team and surrounding community in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to support and care for each other in the difficult days ahead," he added
The Indianapolis metropolitan police department identified eight victims that were killed in this senseless act, which includes four members from the Sikh Community.
The victims were identified as 32-year-old Matthew R Alexander, 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell, 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal, 64-year-old Jaswinder Kaur, 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh, 48-year-old Amarjit Skhon, 19-year-old Karlie Smith and 74-year-old John Weisert.
"A significant number of workers at FedEx processing centre (near Indianapolis airport), where the shooting took place Thursday night are from Sikh community " said the Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor.
Deputy Chief Craig McCartt on Friday afternoon identified the gunman as 19-year-old Brandon Hole, who was last employed by FedEx in 2020. "Hole was found dead of a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted," McCartt said.
Harpreet Gill, an American citizen of Indian heritage, from Amritsar's Jagdev Kalan was one among the many who got injured during the shooting.
"Harpreet was the first to realize there was firing at FedEx facility. He rushed outdoors that's when a bullet came and hit his skull. He is being operated as we speak. The bullet is 2 and 1/2 inch close to the eye. The bullet is not yet out," Harpreet's brother-in-law, Khushwant Bajwa told ANI earlier on Friday.
Dr Pritpal Singh, coordinator, American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC), said that the committee "strongly feel it's a hate crime" adding that the "worse than Oak Creek in Wisconsin. It's big loss to the community. All the victims are in our thoughts and prayers."
Another Sikh community member Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education called the crime unsettling for minorities including Sikhs. "It is so sad to see so many innocent Sikhs become the victim of this violence. We are praying for the victims and their families. We request Biden Administration to offer every kind of help to all victims in Indiana. Sikh community is ready to do it's part to assist," Rajwant told ANI.
Sukhi Chahal, Founder, CEO & Editor-In-Chief of The Khalsa Today said, "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of 8 FedEx employees following the tragic shooting at FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis. I came to know that some of them who died are from my peace-loving & hardworking Sikh community. Our most heartfelt sympathies are with those affected by this senseless act of violence." (ANI)