Authorities said they had spent months conducting an expansive investigation in search of a motive and “trying to find out the why,” said Randal Taylor, chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“Unfortunately, sometimes, even after months of deep investigations … the why is still unknown,” Taylor said at a news briefing. “That’s something that only the shooter honestly knows, and we know we can’t get anything from him.”
Still, officials said their investigation, which included more than 120 interviews and an examination of the attacker’s digital media footprint, ruled out some potential motivations.
Investigators found no evidence of any workplace grievances, saying the gunman, who worked at the facility for a few months in 2020, just stopped showing up for work. They also found no connection between him and any of the victims.
Four of the eight people slain in the April 15 massacre were Sikh, and police had previously reported finding white supremacist sites on the attacker’s computer, raising fears about possible bias fueling the carnage.
But the FBI believes that “the shooter did not appear to have been motivated by bias or a desire to advance an ideology,” said Paul Keenan, special agent in charge of the bureau’s Indianapolis field office. “We didn’t find it was a bias crime.”
Keenan said investigators had found that the gunman had viewed some “World War II, Nazi-type propaganda,” but described it as a fraction of his overall digital history. “There was no indication there was any animosity towards the Sikh community, or any other group for that matter,” he said.
In a statement, Amrith Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s legal director, described being “disappointed” that police and the bureau “still have not detailed how they ruled out bias as a possible motive.”
Keenan said the bureau’s Behavioral Analysis Unit examined evidence collected in the investigation. The analysts believe “this was an act of suicidal murder,” Keenan said, “in which the shooter decided to commit suicide in a way which he believed would demonstrate his masculinity and capability while fulfilling a final desire to experience killing people.”
Keenan said the gunman had suicidal thoughts “almost daily” and had considered other possible locations to attack before targeting the FedEx facility, given his familiarity with it. Keenan declined to identify the other locations.
Experts have found that active shooters often take aim at places familiar to them, such as current or former workplaces, and often had previously alarmed people around them. The gunman in Indianapolis fit both of those grim patterns.
In March 2020, Hole’s mother contacted police and said he had purchased a shotgun and vowed to point it at officers so they would shoot him, according to a police report. Authorities took his shotgun, temporarily held him for mental health reasons and didn’t return the weapon, they said. According to the police report, when officers went to his home, Hole “downplayed any suicidal thoughts or plans” and became anxious about anyone seeing what was on his computer.
Police said the gunman had two guns with him during the rampage in April, both purchased legally last year.
In the briefing Wednesday, police offered a more detailed account of what happened before and during the attack.
Craig McCartt, deputy chief of the Indianapolis police, said the gunman drove to the FedEx facility shortly before 11 p.m., close to shift change and during a break for many workers.
The gunman sat in his car outside, then went inside and had “a very normal conversation” with a security officer about his employment status, McCartt said. Then he returned to his car for several minutes before emerging with two rifles and shooting at an employee walking on the sidewalk.
The gunfire lasted for less than four minutes, McCartt said, and most of the violence happened outside in the parking lot.
The gunman only briefly entered the FedEx facility again, McCartt said, making it into an entry locker room area and firing at people there. He tried to get farther inside but was unable to due to the building’s security measures, McCartt said, so he went back out and fired at people in the parking lot and their vehicles.
“He was very indiscriminate in his selection of targets,” McCartt said.
One employee pulled a handgun from his car’s trunk and fired a shot at the gunman, missing him, before driving away and calling 911, McCartt said. The gunman went back into the entryway and fatally shot himself, McCartt said.
In discussing their investigation Wednesday, officials repeatedly highlighted the suffering caused by the shooting. Taylor, the police chief, described it as an attack on people “who were just trying to do their jobs.”