Four Sikhs among those killed in Indianapolis; India offers help

New Delhi: India will render “all possible assistance” to local authorities and community leaders in Indianapolis, US, where at least eight people, including four Sikhs, have died after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility on Thursday night, a “deeply shocked” Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

About 90 per cent of the workers at this delivery service facility are said to be Indian-Americans, mostly from the Sikh community. This was at least the third mass shooting this year in Indianapolis alone, news agency AP reported.

Late on Friday night, the Marion County Coroner’s Office and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released the names of the victims: Amarjeet Johal (66), Jasvinder Kaur (64), Amarjit Skhon (48) and Jaswinder Singh (68). The first three who died are women, news agency PTI reported.

The shooter has been identified as 19-year-old Brandon Hole. The police could not yet say why he opened fire as he shot himself before being apprehended.

“Deeply shocked by shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Victims include persons of Indian American Sikh community. Our Consulate General in Chicago in touch with Mayor & local authorities in Indianapolis as well as community leaders. Will render all possible assistance,” Mr Jaishankar said in a tweet today.

One person injured in the incident has been identified as Harpreet Gill, an American citizen of Indian heritage, from Amritsar’s Jagdev Kalan, news agency ANI reported. He was hit in the head.

“Harpreet was the first to realize there was firing at FedEx. He rushed outdoors that’s when a bullet came and hit his skull. He is being operated as we speak. The bullet is 2 and 1/2 inch close to the eye. The bullet is not yet out,” Mr Gill’s brother-in-law Khushwant Bajwa told ANI. “He has three children, wife and mother.”

Reacting to the shooting incident, Dr Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, expressed grief over this latest killing in Indianapolis, the report said.

The Indian embassy in Washington DC conveyed its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who died and said it is praying “for the speedy recovery of those injured”.

“Our Consulate in Chicago is in touch with local authorities in Indianapolis, community leaders, and will render all assistance, as required,” it said in a statement. “The Consul General has spoken to the Mayor of Indianapolis, who has assured full support. We are closely monitoring the situation and remain ready to provide all possible assistance.”

US President Joe Biden on Friday termed the incident a “national embarrassment”. All US flags will be flown at half-staff until April 20 out of respect for the victims, the White House said in a statement. This applies to embassies, military bases, and other US facilities around the world.