Members of Sikh community gather in Plymouth to honor FedEx shooting victims

‘The names of the victims could have been the names of our own friends and family,’

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – There were troubling warning signs about the gunman who killed eight people and injured five in Indianapolis.

Police said 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole legally purchased the two assault rifles in June and September of last year. The FBI said his mother told law enforcement in March he may try to attempt “suicide by cop.”

Police seized the teen’s shotguns at the time, but he was still able to purchase the two assault rifles he used in the attack months later.

READ: FBI says it interviewed FedEx mass shooter last year

About 90% of the workers at that FedEx facility belong to the Sikh faith. Emotional vigils were held across the country.

The weekend after the fatal shooting should have been a celebration for the Sikh community. It’s Vaisakhi, which commemorates the birth of the Khalsa and Sikh identity.

Normally, the service would be held inside the Gurdwara in Plymouth, but instead a somber vigil was held outside, honoring the lives cut short.

“We are gathered here to mourn the loss of yet more victims to gun violence,” said Rep. Ranjeev Puri.

One of the most auspicious times of the year for Sikhs, marred by tragedy.

“The names of the victims could have been the names of our own friends and family,” said Raman Signh, with Mata Tripta Ji Gurdwara Sahib. “We pray that Waheguru will be their support.”

Half of those killed Thursday were members of the Sikh faith.

“I wear a turban to say I belong to the Sikh religion and I’m there to help,” said Tejkiran Signh, with Mata Tripta Ji Gurdwara Sahib. “Let me know what kind of help do you need.”

“It’s heartbreaking because you came here to give your kids that life and that life got taken from you,” said Shilpa Rani.

Veronica Goldwater has worked at FedEx for 43 years and knows how challenging their job was.

“When I heard the Sikhs were meeting to mourn, I had to be here because they’re feeling the same pain that we’re feeling,” Goldwater said. “I know how hard they work, they work at a hub station. It’s just hard to think they went in to do their regular job and they’re not coming home.”

The gunman was a former FedEx worker himself.

“This facility was well known for having many Sikh employees and it is very difficult for our community not to feel targeted,” said Nikki Singh, with the Sikh Coalition.

Sikhs across Metro Detroit prayed together following a tragedy they said could have been prevented.

“The bad part is it’s happening, nothing happens,” said Tejkiran Signh. “We want to tell our leaders they have got to do something. This can’t be part of our lives.”

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