April 15, 2022 (Indianapolis, IN) -- Today, the Sikh Coalition joins community members in Indianapolis and across the nation in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the April 2021 mass shooting at a FedEx ground facility.
Eight individuals were killed in this horrific act of violence, including four members of the local Sikh community; many others were injured, traumatized, or lost family and loved ones forever. We pause today to solemnly remember those we lost: Matthew R. Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Kaur Johal, Jasvinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Sekhon, Karli Smith, and John “Steve” Weisert.
“On this solemn day, our hearts are with the families and friends of those whose loved ones were taken in this act of violence,” said Harpreet Singh, Sikh Coalition Co-Interim Executive Director. “As we have worked with the Indianapolis community over this past year to heal and move forward together, we once again find ourselves inspired by the sangat’s capacity to remain resilient in the face of tragedy.”
On April 23, the Sikh Coalition will sponsor eight trees at Arsenal Park (1201 E 46th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205) that will be planted in honor of the eight individuals killed in the shooting. The tree planting ceremony will take place during the Great Indy Cleanup hosted by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the Eway Foundation. All eight families have been invited to attend and there will be a short interfaith program commemorating the lives lost before the event. If you are in Indianapolis, we encourage you to volunteer for the tree planting and park cleanup. The program is expected to start at 8:45 AM EDT. Registration is required to attend; click here to sign up.
In the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting, the Sikh Coalition worked to provide free legal support to survivors and affected family members; engage local, state, and national law enforcement on the investigation; collect and distribute mental health resources to the sangat; support community vigils and events; and coordinate and field local, national, and international media requests. It has been our honor to support--and continue engaging--this sangat and the broader Indianapolis community.
As a final reflection: In July of last year, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded that the shooter’s violent actions were “an act of suicidal murder,” and that there was “no indication of racial bias.” They made this announcement despite the fact that the attack was planned on a place with a majority-Punjabi workforce, and that the shooter did have white nationalist content on his computer. We remain disappointed that the IMPD and FBI never explained how they ruled out bias as a possible motive in their investigation. In all our work, we continue to push law enforcement to understand that bias (alongside mental health issues) can be one of many factors driving acts of mass violence, and that violence and hate endanger us all.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.