Law & the Courts

Police Confiscated Indianapolis Shooter’s Shotgun Months Before He Bought Rifles Used in Attack

AR-15 rifles for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Penn., October 6, 2017 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The former FedEx employee who fatally shot eight workers at a company facility in Indianapolis on Thursday legally purchased two semiautomatic rifles months after police confiscated his shotgun, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said on Saturday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the rifles used in the attack and discovered that the shooter purchased them in July and September 2020. IMPD chief Randal Taylor and the FBI confirmed that police confiscated a shotgun from the shooter in March 2020, after the shooter’s mother called police over fears her son would attempt “suicide by cop.

However, Chief Taylor said the fact that the shooter was able to “legally purchase a much more powerful weapon than a shotgun” indicated that no decision was made to activate Indiana’s “red flag” law in this case. Indiana’s red flag law allows the state to prevent a person from purchasing weapons if the person “presents an imminent risk” to himself or others.

It is unclear whether a red flag determination was pursued following the March 2020 incident. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment by the New York Times.

Eight people were killed in the Thursday shooting before the attacker killed himself. The shooter’s family released a statement on Saturday saying they were “devastated” by the attack.

“We are devastated at the loss of life caused as a result of [his] actions; through the love of his family, we tried to get him the help he needed.  Our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy,” the family said.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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