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Lawsuit: Family members of Indianapolis FedEx mass shooting victims allege incident was preventable

In this file photo an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department vehicle restricts access to the FedEx facility where eight people were shot and killed by a former employee on April 15, 2021.
FILE: Alan Mbathi/IPB News
In this file photo an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department vehicle restricts access to the FedEx facility where eight people were shot and killed by a former employee on April 15, 2021.

Five family members of victims killed in a mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility last year filed a federal lawsuit Monday, alleging the attack was preventable.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, names FedEx and Securitas Security Services as defendants. Dan Chamberlain, an attorney representing the victim’s families, said at a news conference that if FedEx had followed its policies and procedures, the incident would not have happened.

“It is our pleasure to represent these folks in a just devastatingly horrible situation that was preventable. These types of situations cannot continue, in the United States, let alone in the state of Indiana,” he said.

On April 15, 2021, a man opened fire at the FedEx Ground facility on the city’s far west side, killing eight employees and injuring at least five others before killing himself. Half of those killed were members of the Sikh community. Law enforcement concluded that the shooting was not motivated by bias.

Family members of the victims agree they think the attack was avoidable.

“It's painful. It sucks that we have to go through this when this whole incident was 100 percent preventable,” said Gary Johal, the son of victim Amarjeet Johal.

This Friday will mark the one year anniversary of the shooting. On Sunday, hundreds gathered for a Sikh prayer in remembrance of the victims.

Johal added that one year later, the pain of loving his mother has not gone away.

“My mother was everything to me. And I can't see myself moving forward at this moment, without the justice that all the families deserve,” he said.

Matt Alexander’s daughter Karli Smith was one of the eight employees who were killed. Alexander said the loss of his daugher is a never ending struggle, and he will spend this week honoring her.

“There are at least eight different lights that have gone out in this world needlessly, and that could have been prevented. So we want to make sure that that doesn't happen to anybody else,” he said.

FedEx issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

“We continue to mourn the loss of our team members in the senseless tragedy that occurred nearly one year ago. FedEx Ground’s top priority is the safety of our team, and we have provided and continue to offer support in multiple ways to those affected, including employee assistance programs that are available 24/7, as well as the establishment of the Indianapolis 4/15 Survivors Fund in coordination with the National Compassion Fund. We are aware of the lawsuits and are reviewing the allegations in this claim.”

Earlier this year the city of Indianapolis did not respond to a tort claim, effectively denying a request for over $2 million in compensation made by three members of the Sikh community affected by the mass shooting.

Lawyers for the victims said Indianapolis police and the Marion County prosecutor’s office failed to follow Indiana’s red flag law when they decided not to file a case with the courts to suspend the shooter’s gun rights in March of 2020. Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said prosecutors didn't pursue the case because they didn’t have enough time under the law to definitively demonstrate the shooter's propensity for suicidal thoughts.

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