April 17, 2021 (Indianapolis, IN) -- The Sikh Coalition is deeply saddened to share that at least four Sikhs are among those killed late Thursday night when a gunman stormed a FedEx facility in Indianapolis known to have a large Sikh workforce. As of the time of writing, reports indicate that the attacker killed at least eight people and injured at least five more before turning a weapon on himself.
The community members confirmed among those who were killed in the assault are Amarjeet Kaur Johal, aged 66; Jasvinder Kaur, aged 50; Amarjit Sekhon, aged 48; and Jaswinder Singh, aged 68. We join the Indianapolis sangat in mourning their loss, along with the other four individuals killed: Matthew R. Alexander, aged 32; Samaria Blackwell, aged 19; Karli Smith, aged 19, and John Weisert, aged 74.
According to news reports, the horrific attack began when a 19-year-old gunman began “shooting at people in the parking lot and then went into the building and continued firing.” As of now, law enforcement has not yet indicated whether bias was a motivating factor in this attack and the investigation is ongoing.
“I have sat with families from our community and so many others at the Holiday Inn Express as they waited to hear the fates of their loved ones,” said community member Maninder Singh Walia. “These kinds of violent attacks are a threat to all of us. Our community has a long road of healing--physically, mentally, and spiritually--to recover from this tragedy.”
This morning, the Sikh Coalition facilitated a call between the White House office of Public Engagement and other federal officials and Indiana sangat leaders, where we made several asks of President Biden and his Administration. We also continue to engage local and national press to ensure respectful and responsible coverage of the Sikh victims and their families as news coverage of this tragedy continues to unfold; we have helped to distribute statements from community members and a joint message from eight Indianapolis-area gurdwaras, and have positioned Indianapolis Sikh community members for numerous interviews with local and national press. We are coordinating with sangat members on the ground and will also be connecting with the local community to facilitate further aid, including mental health resources. And finally, we have reached out to local and federal law enforcement to clearly communicate our expectation that they will conduct a full investigation--including the possibility of bias as a factor.
“On behalf of the entire Sikh Coalition family, we extend our deepest condolences to the community in this horrific moment,” said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition Executive Director. “While we don’t yet know the motive of the shooter, he targeted a facility known to be heavily populated by Sikh employees, and the attack is traumatic for our community as we continue to face senseless violence. Further traumatizing is the reality that many of these community members, like Sikhs we have worked with in the past, will eventually have to return to the place where their lives were almost taken from them.”
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.