‘Assault rifles’ used in FedEx shooting were purchased legally, police say

Keywords Crime / FedEx / Legal Issues

The man accused of killing eight people Thursday night at a FedEx Ground facility used two “assault rifles” purchased legally, police said Saturday.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department tweeted that federal authorities traced the two weapons and “IMPD learned that Brandon Hole purchased the rifles legally in July and September of 2020.”

IMPD used the term “assault rifles” without further clarification. Earlier Saturday, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor referred to at least one of the rifles as a semiautomatic.

Police say Hole, a former FedEx employee who apparently killed himself after the rampage, went to the FedEx facility at 8951 Mirabel Road shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday and began shooting at people and cars in the parking lot before going inside and continuing to shoot.

IMPD said witnesses reported seeing Hole using two “assault” weapons.

Taylor initially told IBJ on Saturday night that Hole used a weapon that was a semiautomatic when purchased and it wasn’t clear whether it had been modified. “It will have to be run through some tests,” Taylor said.

Police took a weapon away from Hole roughly one year ago, after his mother called police to say that she was worried he would kill himself. That weapon was not returned, but Taylor said the incident was not enough to prohibit Hole from purchasing other guns under the state’s red-flag law.

That law allows officers to seize a person’s gun if police think he or she is dangerous or mentally unstable.

On Saturday, Hole’s family issued a statement apologizing for the shooting and saying they had tried to get the 19-year-old “the help he needed” before Thursday shooting at the FedEx sorting facility at 8951 Mirabel Road.

In addition to the eight who died, five victims went to the hospital, one in critical condition, and two others were treated at the scene and released.

Taylor said police do have surveillance video of the shooting and he had watched “portions of that.” He said no decision has been made about whether the video will be made public.

“It’s pretty bad,” he said.

CORRECTION: This story initially had the wrong day for the initial shooting. It was Thursday, April 15. Also, the story was updated after the police released additional information indicating that incident involved two assault rifles.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

22 thoughts on “‘Assault rifles’ used in FedEx shooting were purchased legally, police say

  1. So this is an obvious case where more thorough background checks would have prevented 8 people from being murdered. Hopefully the statehouse acts, but I’m obviously not holding my breath.

    1. Yeah they’re probably just going to make background checks illegal even though they’re the only ones who can make them requires. You know, because The Statehouse spends half of its time doing nonsense that doesn’t actually do anything.

    2. Robert, Indiana cannot remove the NICS background check requirement as it’s federally required. For a “license to carry” (Indiana statutory language), anyone who has received treatment for a mental illness or disorder must submit their medical case history for analysis by the local police department and the Indiana State Police.

      Wesley, in the case of this shooter, that I’m aware of, he had no medical case history for mental illness. He was described as suicidal by his parent(s), was interviewed by the FBI (related?), and wasn’t charged with a crime. What would probably happen if medical background checks are required is that people will abstain from receiving treatment in cases where the individual wishes to someday purchase a firearm. If the bar for suspicion of someone being a murderer is someone who is contemplating suicide, these people won’t seek treatment for fear of losing their firearms or being unable to purchase one. What would you propose?

    3. More thorough background checks first of all is not what’s proposed by your lovely president. Universal background checks are proposed. This guy bought legally from a gun dealer and passed the federal FBI background check. What you mean by more thorough is u clear, but a background check is a background check. His record was clean as the police failed to find mental health and danger issues with this man when he was reported by his family.

    4. Cory, just so you know, Biden is your president too assuming you live in the United States. Trump was unfortunately mine until a few months ago.

      Anyway, more thorough would certainly mean you couldn’t legally purchase a weapon after the police have already taken one away from you because you’re mentally ill. You say they failed to find mental health danger issues, yet they took his gun away and didn’t give it back. What are you talking about? They can’t take his gun if he didn’t have mental health issues. The fact that his gun being taken away wasn’t enough to disqualify him from purchasing a gun is exactly what is wrong with this country’s gun laws!

    5. Robert, got it 🙂
      I do agree that the statehouse is pretty ineffective in general, though.

    6. Wes H, they took the gun due to a family member reporting him. After that, he was interviewed by mental health professional and was not found to be a threat. He did not get the gun back because he did not petition to have it returned. There was nothing baring him from getting it back. The police also failed to bring it to court to have him placed on the do not buy list, however, they did not do so due to lack of evidence against him showing mental illness or being a danger to himself or others.

  2. Anyone with an inkling of mental illness or a visit by police should not be allowed to purchase firearms of any kind. Ever. Guns kill enemies and bad guys but in the wrong hands the innocent are victims of avoidable carnage. Assault rifles are for war, and are not necessary for the normal citizen. Contemplate the loss of all these amazing people.

    1. Is your conclusion that those with mental illnesses are violent (the use of the word “anyone”)? People with anxiety or ADHD or depression or seasonal affective disorder are prone to violent and homicidal behavior? If anyone calls the police on you Nick and you are paid a visit, you are to be assumed a violent, homicidal threat to society? Someone notices you’ve been down at work, lately, and they tell the authorities they think you’re suicidal, which prompts a (mandatory, would you propose?) visit to your work or home; you’re now stripped of any guns you own and blacklisted?

      Rifles such as the AR-15, AK-47, and many others, are exactly the types of firearms that a normal citizen (a “regular”) should be allowed to own. They are the closest thing to a military-grade weapon. The whole intent of the 2A is for people to be assured self-defense, and for the states and the people (via militias, and also what we call the “national guard”) to have the means to oppose a tyrannical federal government.

    2. Brian, everything you said about the purpose of the second amendment is purely subjective. The Supreme Court has never agreed with your opinion. Just wanted to throw that out there. I’m not even going to get into a ridiculous debate about going to war with the government. I’m scared that if Congress does pass a ban on assault weapons (again), your side is going to declare Tyranny and storm the Capitol again. The gun loving crowd has shifted so far to the right it’s scary.

    3. It hasn’t agreed with my opinion? Sure, there have been justices who hate guns and the thought of citizens having them. What case before the court has contradicted my statements? What do you think the purpose of a militia is? Also, why don’t you check out DC v Heller related to self-defense guarantees by 2A. Also you’re telling me the federal government, if given the chance, were it not restrained by the 2A, wouldn’t immediately try to massively curtail and confiscate firearms on a broader scale? That would be fine with you, I imagine. I wonder the pretense it would use for that — simple — “safety and security”. Do you really think the 2A had nothing to do with the fledgling United States’ trials with Britain and the war we had just fought with them?

      Read Madison’s federalist papers. He had a heavy hand in the authoring of 2A. Guarding against an oppressive federal government is the core reason for the 2A’s ratification. There is no ambiguity on the purpose of the 2A. 2A has nothing to do with “hunting” or “sport shooting”. Self-defense was also a given at the amendment’s inception.

      Why resort to slandering me? Low shot, and pretty ignorant given you have no idea who I am. Unless you’re just bigoted against people who defend the 2A, and the Constitution in general, and smearing them is an attempt to silence me. Won’t work.

  3. So perfect example how 0 new gun control measures would make a difference. Indiana has red flag law that was used against shooter, no actually red flags were found by police and was not put into the mental health system which would caused him to fail a background check. He legally bought two firearms, passed the background check after showing no problems to police during investigation. This isn’t a gun issue, this is mental health. Clearly he was a problem but police were most likely not trained to indenting mental health problem during investigation. Current laws proposed include red flag and universal background checks. Well hate to break it to you but non of these would have done sh*t

    1. [Cory F]no actually [sic] red flags were found by police[/Cory F]
      .
      Cory: No red flags were found? How so? They removed his guns and he later purchased more guns. It would seem the Red Flag law worked correctly. It’s the process of allowing him to purchase more guns which failed.

    2. Guess what, Cory? The Red Flag law didn’t fail…LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) did…they checked him out, took his guns, and didn’t follow through with the Red Flag paperwork…and this allowed him to legally go get more guns – one each on TWO occasions. Landsharks are going to take this one to the bank…Eight dead, five wounded & taken to hospital(s), and two treated at the scene and released. That’s 15 people (and where applicable, families) are going to sue…’spose the Hole family will sue, claiming Brandon would still be alive and receiving treatment?

    3. Phillip P, you just made the perfect case supporting gun rights crowd. No need to pass new laws since the current ones are not enforced/followed through with.

      Also he was not found to be a danger to himself or others by a mental health screening. Whatever that process entails in Indiana I do not know, but he was not taken to court to have him placed on the do not buy list due to lack of evidence against him. He did not get his shotgun back because he also did not go through the process of petitioning the court for his property back.

      Red flag laws failed, again showing mental health crisis in the world.

  4. Something those who are defending gun rights need to consider is they (not just on IBJ, but in many areas online – and it’s been this way since I got on the Internet 32+ years ago) are defending gun owners’ rights absolutely and are doing very, very little to defend the rights of everyone else [to not be shot].
    .
    The burden of proof shouldn’t be upon those who are wanting to change the status quo. All it’s going to take is an unfortunate perfect storm of mass shootings (defined as 4+ deaths, not including the shooter, in a single scenario) in a rather short period of time to cause those seeking gun rights reform to be overwhelmed. It was recently said there had been 53 mass shootings in the previous month. Imagine 5-10+ in a day or weekend — we know it’s going to happen — and things *will* change.
    .
    Those defending gun owners’ rights right now are doing very little to resolve the situation. It’s just “no this” and “no that” and they’re unwilling to take on any responsibility for finding a compromise. If you are one of those people, remember the perfect storm I cited above. If you aren’t willing to help solve the problem, the problem will be resolved without you…and I don’t think you will like what that means.

  5. I’ve got to start to think that something is wrong with a System that let’s teenagers buy guns before they can even have a mental health history. If Hole had guns removed, no way he should be buying a .223/.308 subsequently without a mental health exam. Any real System has to screen out people with mental health problems; it seems like a lot of people think *they* would be screened out.
    I also probably thought that a place like FedEx Ground would be more secure, especially considering the workforce

  6. From what I understand, the police did not “take his guns away from him.” Rather, he voluntarily gave the police his gun and they took what he gave them. That’s a distinction with a difference. Because he voluntarily provided his gun, there was nothing further needed (e.g., no process was initiated to “take” his gun). He also apparently had a mental assessment at the time, and he passed (e.g., he was neither homicidal nor suicidal).

    Meanwhile, millions of gun-owning Americans did not shoot anyone today…

  7. So, misguided as it is – I wonder how a 19-year old who hasn’t been to school since 3rd grade and stays in his basement playing video games has the cash and wherewithal to go to a gun store and legally purchase guns that cost from $500 – $1,000 each plus the ammo which is expensive? Sad all the way around on this one.

    1. Excellent questions, Michael, but don’t expect answers.

      To the usual bleeding heart liberals who decry guns as the source of all evil, consider that 26 years ago as of Monday, April 19, Timothy McVeigh and (??) Nichols planned and executed the murder of 180+ people in Oklahoma City without using ANY firearms.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.