The man who opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late Thursday, fatally shooting eight people and injuring at least seven others, was a former employee at the facility, a spokesman for FedEx said.
Mass shootings in American workplaces are not a new phenomenon, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University. In one of the most notorious examples, a mail carrier in trouble with his supervisors opened fire in a crowded post office in Oklahoma, killing 14 workers and injuring seven others before killing himself. The violent attack in 1986 spawned the phrase “going postal.”
“Mass shooters have a grievance, a grudge, and they’re looking for payback,” Dr. Fox said. “Oftentimes that grudge has to do with employment.”
Brandon Scott Hole, whom law enforcement authorities have identified as the Indianapolis gunman, last worked at the FedEx facility in 2020, according to Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The chief said he believed that Mr. Hole had worked there until the fall, but he did not know why his employment ended.
In past workplace shootings, many of the perpetrators — employees or former employees — considered themselves victims of injustice who were “trying to right a wrong,” Dr. Fox said.
Their co-workers were targeted because of their association with the company, said Dr. Fox, who is an author of a mass killing database maintained by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. According to the database, there were 14 workplace shootings — those carried out by an aggrieved employee — out of 357 total mass shootings since 2006, before this week’s shooting in Indianapolis.
“In most indiscriminate shootings there’s still a reason why the person chose that place or those people,” he said.
The gunman, a Milwaukee man, was wearing his company uniform as he carried out the shooting. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the police said. Other employees said he had been involved in a feud with another employee.
The year before, at a suburban Chicago factory about 115 miles from the Milwaukee crime scene, a disgruntled employee who had been fired from his job killed five other workers.
One of the deadliest workplace shootings occurred in May 2019 in Virginia Beach, when a longtime public utilities employee who quit his job began firing indiscriminately at his co-workers with a handgun, the authorities said, killing 12 people and injuring several others before dying after an extended shootout with the police.
In 2015, a man in San Bernardino, Calif., attended a holiday luncheon for employees of the county health department, where he worked as a health inspector, and left early. He and his wife returned, armed, and commenced a shooting rampage that killed 14 people and left 21 wounded.
World News || Latest News || U.S. News