Apr 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Indianapolis FedEx shooter never had a "red flag" hearing

 People lay flowers in honor of the deceased during a vigil in Indianapolis Sunday.

People lay flowers in honor of the deceased during a vigil in Indianapolis Sunday. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Brandon Hole, the 19-year-old shooter who killed eight people at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis last week, never had a "red flag" hearing in accordance with state law despite a warning from his mother he was showing signs of violence, a prosecutor said at a press conference Monday.

Why it matters: Indiana's "red flag" law allows authorities to seize guns from people who show "warning signs of violence," per AP. Had the shooter appeared before a judge and been found unstable, he may not have been able to purchase the guns used in the mass shooting.

Details: Hole's mother contacted authorities in March 2020 regarding her son's mental stability, saying he was having suicidal thoughts, according to the New York Times.

  • Police seized a shotgun in Hole's possession and Hole was taken to the hospital for several hours.
  • However, the next step of setting up a "red flag" hearing was never taken because prosecutors feared they would not be able to build a sufficient case in the 2 weeks allotted by the red flag law, the New York Times reported.

Leaving the case open-ended meant authorities did not have to return Hole's shotgun to him, but allowed Hole to months later purchase rifles used in the FedEx mass shooting.

  • "The risk is, if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person," said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears. "That’s not something we were willing to do.”

Republican state Sen. Erin Houchin, who sponsored provisions to strengthen the state's red flag law, said the law in the Hole case “could have worked just as it should, but the prosecutor never pursued it.”

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