State Watch

Authorities never sought 'red flag' hearing for FedEx shooter: prosecutor

A prosecutor in the Indiana county where a former FedEx employee allegedly shot and killed eight people said Monday that the suspected gunman never appeared for a hearing under Indiana's "red flag" law after the man's mother warned police that her son might try to commit "suicide by cop." 

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears told reporters at a press conference that while a "red flag" hearing could have demonstrated to a judge that 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole should not have a gun, authorities were unable to meet the two-week timeline required to hold a red flag hearing. 

Under Indiana's 2005 red flag law, which also exists in several other states, police and courts can seize guns from people who have displayed the potential to commit violence. 

The FBI on Friday said that it had uncovered a shotgun from Hole's bedroom in March 2020 after receiving the warning from his mother. 

A police probable cause narrative released Monday reported that while officers were searching Hole's room, they also found "white supremist websites" on his computer after Hole asked officers to turn its power off because he didn't "want anyone to see what's on it."

Despite this finding, Mears said Monday that prosecutors were unable to develop a red flag case against Hole due to a 2019 provision added to the law that requires courts to make a "good-faith effort" to hold a hearing within 14 days, as well as filing an affidavit within 48 hours, according to The Associated Press

"This individual was taken and treated by medical professionals and he was cut loose," Mears said Monday. "The risk is, if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person. That's not something we were willing to do."

Paul Keenan, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Indianapolis field office, said in a statement shared with The Hill on Friday that the FBI in April 2020 conducted interviews with Hole and that there was no criminal violation found, adding that no "Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment." 

Police said Saturday that Hole, who killed himself after allegedly opening fire on workers at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Ind., had legally purchased two assault rifles later used during the attack. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said that according to records, Hole bought the firearms in July and September. 

Four members of the Sikh community were among the eight killed in last week's mass shooting, and the New York-based advocacy group the Sikh Coalition on Saturday called for an investigation to determine if racial bias played a role in the attack. 

Police have not yet announced a motive in Thursday's shooting, the latest in a string of attacks that have reignited calls for gun control legislation, including a federal assault weapons ban.