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Indianapolis Shooter Purchased Guns Legally, Despite Previous Gun Seizure By Police

NOEL KING, HOST:

Last week's shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis shocked that city. Eight people were killed. Four of them were members of the Sikh religion. Here's Darian Benson of member station WFYI in Indianapolis.

DARIAN BENSON, BYLINE: Police say a trace on the weapons used in last Thursday's shooting found that the gunman purchased them last year. That was after his mother warned the FBI that he might attempt, quote, "suicide by cop," which prompted authorities to seize a shotgun from the 19-year-old former FedEx employee. At a vigil this weekend, U.S. Representative Andre Carson called for better gun laws and conversations about mental health.

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ANDRE CARSON: Let's turn this tragedy into a catalyst for change and create safer communities for all Americans.

BENSON: Police say they're investigating the motive but don't believe race was a factor. Many of the employees of the FedEx ground facility where the shooting happened are members of the Sikh religion. Harjap Singh Dhillon’s sister is the daughter-in-law of one of the victims, 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh. He actually referred to him as uncle because they were close and remembered him as someone who constantly spread joy to those around him.

HARJAP SINGH DHILLON: Always, always happy, always loved family and telling everyone, encouraging everyone - stay healthy, stay happy.

BENSON: He said some Sikhs believe they were targeted because of their religion, but he doesn't think that's the case.

SINGH DHILLON: This is a hate against humanity. This is a hate against the people who try to work hard.

BENSON: Sikh leaders spoke at vigils this weekend. Maninder Singh Walla is on the board of a gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, on the east side of Indianapolis. He said he wants answers as to why the suspect was able to obtain weapons and gain access to the facility so easily.

MANINDER SINGH WALLA: Simply sending a statement from the higher authorities saying this is - we are - it's a tragedy. We're sorry. We don't want that answer. We want that - what are you going to do?

BENSON: Singh Walla said his community is hurting for everyone affected by gun violence, regardless of their religion.

For NPR News, I'm Darian Benson in Indianapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.