INDIANAPOLIS — Eight people were killed in Thursday night’s shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. The gunman is also dead, apparently from a self-inflicted wound. The victims ranged in age from 19 to 74, and several of them had just begun working at the hub, located near Indianapolis International Airport.
Here is what we know about the eight victims.
Matthew R. Alexander
Matthew R. Alexander, 32, was a former Butler University student who had worked at FedEx for several years.
“He was a great kid. He loved to play golf. Had a big heart -- always had a smile on his face,” Albert Ashcraft, a former FedEx driver who worked with Alexander for about five years, told the Indianapolis Star. “Whatever it took to make a truck driver happy, that’s what he did. He was just not the ordinary dispatcher. He was a good kid. Thirty-two years old, you know, got shorted out of life as far as I’m concerned. It’s really sad.”
Ashcraft said Alexander had attended school in Avon, Indiana, and recently bought a home. He added that Alexander dispatched drivers to locations for deliveries and got their paperwork ready. He also made sure his drivers got doughnuts.
“Everybody liked him,” Ashcraft told the Star. “He was always saving somebody’s (expletive). He was always doing something.
“People would bring doughnuts in and he was always sticking doughnuts back for his drivers,” he said.
Samaria Blackwell, 19, dreamed of being a police officer. According to her parents, she was fun-loving, smart and loved to help others, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Blackwell began working at FedEx about two months ago, Matt Barnes, a family friend who is serving as a media contact for the Blackwell family, told the newspaper. Barnes is also the Indiana Statehouse chaplain.
Her parents, Jeff and Tammi Blackwell, said in a statement released on Saturday that they were blessed to have “such a fun-loving, caring daughter as the baby of our family.”
“Being the baby, she looked up to her siblings Elijah, Levi, and Michaiah, who, along with her dog Jasper, will miss her immensely,” the Blackwells wrote. “Samaria was tenacious in everything she did, from playing basketball and soccer to being a lifeguard for Indy Parks. On the court or the soccer field, she had a tough game face, but that quickly turned to a smile outside of competition.”
Barnes said Samaria Blackwell played basketball and soccer with his daughters in junior high and high school on the Indianapolis Homeschool Wildcats and Indy Genesis.
“Off the court, she was the life of the party, on the court, she was all business,” Barnes told the Star.
“On this side of heaven we grieve, but not as those who have no hope, for we recognize Samaria’s life has only just begun,” the Blackwells wrote in their statement.
Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66, was a mother, grandmother and a member of Indianapolis’ Sikh community, the Indianapolis Star reported.
“I am heartbroken to confirm that my nanjii (maternal grandmother), Amarjeet Kaur Johal, is among those killed in the senseless shooting,” her grandson wrote in a Twitter post.
Johal was planning to work a double shift Thursday so she could take Friday off, according to the Star. She later decided to grab her check and go home, the newspaper reported. He said she still had her check in her hand when authorities found her body.
“This other guy (that) just moved from India just got his first paycheck,” Johal’s grandson wrote. “(What) a harsh and cruel world we live in.”
Jaswinder Kaur, 64, was supposed to make her yogurt at a large family celebration for her granddaughter’s second birthday on Saturday, the Times reported. Kaur was the mother of Rimpi Girn’s sister-in-law.
“And today we’re gathering to plan a funeral,” Girn told the newspaper.
At a recent Sunday gathering, Kaur had asked Girn to help her get a driver’s license since she was traveling to her night shifts at FedEx with another shooting victim, Amarit Sekhon.
“No more license for her,” Girn told the Times. “That’s it. It was just talk. She doesn’t need a license for anything now.”
While authorities said Kaur was 64, her family said she was 50, the newspaper reported.
Jaswinder Singh, 68, of Homecoming, Indiana, had just started working at the FedEx hub this week, The New York Times reported. He lived in California before moving to Indiana. Harjap Singh Dillon, whose sister was married to one of Singh’s sons, told the newspaper that Singh was excited about receiving his first check. On the night of the shooting, Singh was sorting mail.
“He was going to get his first check,” Dillon told the Times. “He didn’t get it.”
Singh was active with his local temple, Dillon told the newspaper.
Amarjit Sekhon, 48, moved to Indiana from Ohio to be closer to her family, The New York Times reported. While Indianapolis officials listed Sekhon’s age as 48, her family said she was 49.
Sekhon began working at FedEx about six months ago, her niece, Rimpi Girn, told the Times. She worked the overnight shift, starting at 11 p.m. and finishing at 11 a.m. the next day.
“She loved to work. She was a hard worker,” Sekhon’s brother-in-law, Kuldip Sekhon, told the Indianapolis Star.
Girn told the Times that Sekhon had two sons, ages 14 and 19, and that she had struggled to explain the death to the younger son.
“We can’t even think of what to tell him,” Girn told the newspaper. “All of a sudden last night his mom went to work, and she never came back today.”
Jigna Shah, a family friend, called Sekhon a “kind soul” who was very close to her family members. Shah, 47, said her family would attend temple services with Sekhon’s family, and on weekends they would cook lentils, sweets and other foods, the Times reported.
“It was always a joy to be with them,” Shah told the newspaper. “She was a very sweet person. She was like an aunt to our family.”
Sekhon lived and worked with Jaswinder Kaur, Kuldip Sekhon’s daughter-in-law, who was also killed in the shooting.
Sekhon was the mother of two sons, ages 22 and 16, and had many passions, her brother-in-law told the Star.
“She liked to work. She liked to eat. She liked money,” Kuldip Sekhon said. “If you wanted to take her shopping, she would go with you.”
Karli Smith, 19, had just received her first check at FedEx, a family member, who asked not to be identified, told the Indianapolis Star. She began working at the FedEx facility two weeks ago, the newspaper reported.
“She was a lovely, beautiful and youthful teenage girl,” a family member told the Star. “She had just started to buckle down and get a job and take life a little more serious.”
According to a Facebook post, Smith’s family last heard from her at 10:59 p.m. on Thursday.
Smith was born and raised in Indianapolis and was a 2020 graduate of Crispus Attucks High School, where she played softball, the Star reported.
She had a “vibrant spirit,” the family member told the newspaper, and “like a typical teenage girl, was stubborn and taking life by the horns.”
“There is nothing to understand, no real purpose or meaning,” the family member said. “(We are) “left with only the love and memories.”
Dominique Troutman, her sister, waited hours at a Holiday Inn in Indianapolis for an update, according to The Associated Press.
“Words can’t even explain how I feel. ... I’m so hurt,” Troutman said on a Facebook post Friday night.
John Steve Weisert
Carol Weisert told WISH-TV that her husband, John Steve Weisert, 74, had been working as a bag handler at FedEx for four years. The pair were married on Nov. 27, 1971, in Dakota County, Minnesota, according to online records.
Weisert had been an Air Force officer during the Vietnam era, his son, Mike Weisert, told the Times. After his military service, the elder Weisert worked as a mechanical engineer for Pratt & Whitney and Brown & Root. He also worked in Kuwait during the 2000s, Mike Weisert told the newspaper.
“My dad’s life was senselessly and needlessly cut short by a sick, depraved human being out for revenge against a former employer,” Mike Weisert wrote Friday on his Facebook page. “I don’t understand and will never understand the reason for this kind of random violence.”
Away from work, John Weisert enjoyed playing country and bluegrass music on guitar and watch professional wrestling on television, his son said. He enjoyed action movies and classic films, counting “Lawrence of Arabia” as a favorite, Mike Weisert told the Times.
The elder Weisert started working at FedEx four years ago as a part-time package handler during the evening shift “to make ends meet,” his son told the Times. His wife wanted him to retire, and John Weisert had talked about leaving his job next month or taking the summer off, his son said.
“She didn’t like him being over 74 years old and getting to be as weak as he was,” Mike Weisert told the Times. “He was hunched and arched over with his back. The job was killing him by inches, slowly. His career had been winding down and some of us were worried.”
Mike Weisert remembered his father as “somewhat of an introvert,” who had “kind of a goofy, cornball sense of humor about him.”
He liked to play country and western and bluegrass music on guitar and watch wrestling on TV. He also loved action movies and classic films. “Lawrence of Arabia” was a particular favorite.
In addition to his son, he also had a daughter, Lisa, who lives in Seattle.