Vigil offers opportunities for healing, remembrance of FedEx shooting victims

Keywords Crime / FedEx

More than 200 people, including local, state and federal officials, gathered Saturday evening to mourn the eight victims of Thursday’s mass shooting at a FedEx facility on the city’s west side.

The gathering, held at Krannert Park, was the first opportunity for many employees to see one another since the shooting occurred late Thursday night.

The hour-long event included remarks from city leaders like Mayor Joe Hogsett and City-County Council President Vop Osili, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor and Rep. Andre Carson, whose district includes much of the city.

The vigil came about 43 hours after police say former employee Brandon Hole opened fire in the parking lot at the FedEx Ground center at 8951 Mirabel Road and then inside the building, killing eight before turning the gun on himself. The facility has been closed since the shooting.

Erica Carrico, who has worked at the facility for 10 years and finished her shift shortly before the shooting began, said she attended the vigil to mourn the loss of her coworkers. She said she knew one of the eight victims, 74-year-old John Weisert.

“It’s strange. It’s like everybody’s a little off,” Carrico said of the atmosphere at the vigil. “A lot of us are traumatized right now.”

Carrio said Weisert went by his middle name, Steve, with his coworkers.

“He was the sweetest man you could ever know,” she said. “He gave everybody their own nickname, and he remembered all of them.”

The vigil included opportunities for families and friends of victims to mourn together and to remember their loved ones, and included speeches from several local officials. Comfort dogs from the Chicago-based Lutheran Church Charities crisis response group were also on-site, along with wooden hearts for vigil participants to sign. The hearts will be given to the families of the victims.

Vicky South, another FedEx employee, said she knew five of the victims. She said having the opportunity to mourn with coworkers will likely help her with the grieving process.

“It felt good to see the ones here—very comforting,” she said. “To know they’re okay. It’s comforting to be all together and to support each other during this.”

She also said she was thankful for the words shared by local officials and to see up close how they’re being affected by the shooting.

“It was a little uplifting to hear … because I was very sad and upset before I came here,” said South, who added she doesn’t know how she’ll react when she returns to the building for the first time.

“I won’t know until I pull into that parking lot. And to be honest, I’m liable to turn around and drive right back out. I don’t know.” She said.

IMPD’s Taylor shared with those gathered how challenging the last few days have been for him personally, calling the situation one of the toughest of his three-decade law enforcement career.

He later told IBJ that when he got home from speaking with families of the victims he and his wife took time to mourn.

“When you’re dealing with eight families, one coming in after another, to get the official bad news, it was tough, it was very tough,” he said. “And you have to be strong in that situation.

“But when I got home, I had to let it go. It’s one thing to vent to other officers, and that’s helpful. My wife and I had some time, when I got home to her, where we just cried.”

Another vigil is planned for Sunday at 7 p.m. on the steps of Beech Grove City Hall at 802 Main Street.

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