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Rifles Used in Indianapolis FedEx Shooting Were Purchased Legally, Despite Previous Mental Health Action and Firearm Seizure by Authorities Just Months Before

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA — According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), the two rifles that were used in the recent FedEx shooting in their city were legally purchased by the suspect in 2020, even though IMPD and the FBI had interviewed him and acted just months before the purchases were made.

In March 2020, his mother called authorities and expressed concern that he may attempt “suicide by cop.”  He was interviewed by investigators and placed on an “immediate detention mental health temporary hold”. A pump shotgun was also seized from him, and according to an FBI spokesman earlier this week, was never returned to him.

According to authorities two rifles were used in the shooting and both were purchased legally, despite Indiana’s “red flag” laws. They have stated that one was bought in July 2020 and the other in September 2020, but did not release any information concerning the seller(s).

Indiana was one of the first states in the nation to enact such legislation in 2005 following the death of a Indianapolis police officer.  His killer used a gun that had been seized and later returned after the man was hospitalized for an emergency mental health evaluation during which he was diagnosed and prescribed medication for schizophrenia. Despite the diagnosis and medication, authorities had no legal basis for denying the individual the right to posses a firearm.

The law, deemed the Jake Laird Law, was named for the slain officer. It is supposed to prevent an individual from purchasing or possessing a firearm if a judge has determined them to be an “imminent risk” to themselves or others. Under the law, authorities may seize firearms, after which they have a two-week period to argue in court that an individual should not be allowed to possess them as part of due process for the individual. If the individual wins the case, the firearms are returned. If the individual loses the case, not only is the return of any seized weapons denied, but the ability to legally purchase any weapon in the future is also denied. It is uncertain if this process was followed or if a judge ruled in the March 2020 shotgun seizure case of the suspect.

The term “assault rifle”, which is commonly misused by the public, media, and politicians, has been used in this case; however, the manufacturer and model information on the rifles used has not been made public. This is a developing story and will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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