The man who opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis Thursday night, fatally shooting eight people and injuring at least seven others, was a former employee of the facility, a FedEx spokesperson said.
Mass shootings in American workplaces are not a new phenomenon, said James Alan Fox, criminologist at Northeastern University. In one of the most notorious examples, a struggling letter carrier with his superiors opened fire at a crowded Oklahoma post office, killing 14 workers and injuring seven others before taking his own life. The violent attack of 1986 spawned the phrase “mailing”.
“Mass shooters have a grievance, a grudge, and they’re looking for revenge,” Dr. Fox said. “Often this grudge is related to employment.”
Brandon Scott Hole, who law enforcement officials identified as the Indianapolis shooter, last worked at FedEx facilities in 2020, according to Deputy Chief Craig McCartt of the Metropolitan Police Department. of Indianapolis. The chief said he believed Mr. Hole worked there until the fall, but was unsure why his employment ended.
In past shootings in the workplace, many perpetrators – employees or former employees – saw themselves as victims of injustice who “were trying to right a wrong,” said Dr Fox.
Their colleagues have been targeted because of their association with the company, said Dr Fox, author of a massacre database maintained by the The US Express News, USA Today and Northeastern University. According to the database, there have been 14 workplace shootings – those carried out by an aggrieved employee – out of a total of 357 mass shootings since 2006, before this week’s shooting in Indianapolis.
“In most indiscriminate shootings, there is always a reason why the person chose this place or these people,” he said.
The gunman, a Milwaukee man, was wearing his company uniform during the shooting. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Other employees said he was involved in a feud with another employee.
The year before, at a factory in suburban Chicago, about 185 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 long-time utility worker who quit his job began indiscriminately shooting his co-workers with a handgun, authorities said, killing 12 people and injuring several others before dying in a protracted shootout with police.
In 2015, a man from San Bernardino, Calif., Attended a vacation lunch for county health department workers, where he worked as a health inspector, and left early. He and his wife returned armed and started a shootout that killed 14 people and left 21 injured.