FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Primary Press Contact: Graham F. West
Media and Communications Director, the Sikh Coalition
email@example.com, (817) 800-8873
Secondary Press Contact: Rajanpreet Kaur
Senior Manager, Media and Communications, the Sikh Coalition
firstname.lastname@example.org, (732) 823-9266
At Least Four Sikhs Among Those Killed, Others Injured in Indianapolis FedEx Shooting
April 16, 2021 (Indianapolis, IN) -- The Sikh Coalition is deeply saddened to confirm that at least four Sikh community members are among those killed during Thursday night’s mass shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Sadly, we acknowledge that this number is subject to change for the worse as more information becomes publicly available and those who were injured are treated at area hospitals.
“I am heartbroken to confirm that my naniji (maternal grandmother), Amarjeet Kaur Johal, is among those killed in the senseless shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis,” said community member Komal Chohan. “We are still working to identify others who were injured and killed on Thursday night. I have several family members who work at the particular facility and are traumatized. My nani, my family, and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough is enough--our community has been through enough trauma.”
Out of respect for the families and given the fact that the situation continues to develop, the Sikh Coalition is not republishing the names of other victims at this time.
“I have sat with families from our community and so many others at the Holiday Inn Express as they wait 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.”
The suspect, Brandon Scott Hole, allegedly turned his weapon on himself before law enforcement arrived at the scene. FedEx has confirmed that he was a former employee at the Indianapolis facility. No further information about his possible motive has been released at this time, but we fully expect that authorities should and will conduct a full investigation--including the possibility of bias as a factor.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of this horrific violence,” 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.”
For more than 125 years, Sikhs have been an integral part of the American fabric. Although Sikhs began settling in Indiana more than 50 years ago, the first gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) was established in 1999. In the last two decades, the Sikh population around Indianapolis has experienced significant growth; today, there are 10 gurdwaras across the state and an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Sikh Americans who have made Indiana their home.
Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world, with approximately 500,000 adherents in the United States. Many practicing Sikhs are visually distinguishable by their articles of faith, which include the unshorn hair and turban. By the Sikh Coalition’s estimate, Sikh Americans remain hundreds of times more likely to experience bigotry, bias, and backlash than their fellow Americans.
We will continue to provide further information about the community in the context of this horrific tragedy in the days ahead.
The Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. For almost 20 years, we have provided free legal representation and worked to combat anti-Sikh bias and discrimination wherever it arises. For more information, including interviews with experts and Sikh community leaders in Indiana, please contact email@example.com; please also review our guide here for reporting about the Sikh faith, community, and traditions.