A prosecutor claimed Monday that the former FedEx employee who shot and killed eight victims at an Indianapolis FedEx facility on April 15 never had a “red flag” hearing.
Authorities seized a pump-action shotgun from shooter Brandon Scott Hole, 19, in March 2020, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears claimed, according to Fox News. However, Hole never appeared in front of a judge for a “red flag” hearing, despite the fact that Hole’s own mother called authorities to warn them her son might commit “suicide by cop,” a prosecutor said.
NBC News: This is the photo of the alleged shooter, Brandon Scott Hole, 19 in the Indianapolis FedEx shooting that left 8 dead, according to a police spokesperson.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) April 16, 2021
“Absolutely there needs to be some intervention and absolutely the firearm needs to be taken away,” Mears said, according to Fox News, “But the risk is if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person.”
“That’s not something we were willing to do,” Mears added, Fox News reported. Authorities never returned the shotgun to Hole, police claimed, according to Fox News. (RELATED: Police Identify Suspected Gunman In Mass Shooting At FedEx Facility)
Investigators said Hole bought what they described as assault rifles April 10 to carry out the attack on the FedEx facility legally, but did not release where Hole purchased them because the investigation is still ongoing, according to Fox News.
“I think this case illustrates the limitations” of the law, Mears said, according to Fox News.
On request of Indiana law enforcement, Facebook took down two accounts connected to Hole, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hole’s online activity seems to suggest he was mentally disturbed.
Hole apparently was part of an online group referring to themselves as “Bronies,” a combination of the words “bro” and “ponies,” an internal Facebook memo read, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group focuses on the “My Little Pony” toy and cartoon series, and some of the content is sexual in nature, according to Fox News. The Facebook memo said that “Brony online culture has displayed elements of far-right and white nationalist extremism,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Just before the shooting, Hole posted a photo of the cartoon pony Applejack, and said “I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Red flag laws enable law enforcement agencies or courts to remove guns from the possession of individuals who are likely to become violent. The law also aims to stop people who are “an imminent risk” to themselves or others from purchasing and possessing other firearms, according to Fox News.
Indiana enacted its “red flag” law in 2005 after a man shot and killed an Indiana police officer, Timothy “Jake” Laird, according to the IndyStar. The man had his firearms returned to his possession even though he was hospitalized just months earlier for an emergency health evaluation, Fox News reported.
Under the Red Flag law, also known as the Jake Laird law, authorities have two weeks to produce an argument for the court that the individual should not be in possession of firearms after seizing their guns, according to the IndyStar.