Local and state leaders reacting to news of a shooting massacre at an Indianapolis FedEx facility that killed at least eight people, plus the shooter, are expressing sympathy for the victims and their families, gratitude to law enforcement, and disappointment America's gun violence epidemic again is hitting Indiana.
Democratic Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said as law enforcement works to learn more about "yet another mass shooting," he said "our prayers are with the families of those whose lives were cut short."
"Thank you to all of our city’s first responders for their tireless work overnight," Hogsett said. "Their quick response provided critical aid to those injured in the shooting and brought a measure of calm to an otherwise chaotic scene."
The FedEx massacre was at least the third mass shooting already this year in Indiana's capital city. Five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot and killed in January, and a man was accused of killing three adults and a child before abducting his daughter during an argument at a home in March.
"This is another heartbreaking day," Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said, adding he personally is "shaken by the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis."
"Indiana State Police are working with local responders, and we will continue to offer any and all resources needed to assist during this tragedy," Holcomb said. "In times like this, words like justice and sorrow fall short in response for those senselessly taken. Our thoughts are with the families, friends, co-workers and all those affected by this terrible situation."
The governor also ordered all flags in the state lowered to half-staff until April 20 to remember those killed in this incident.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, a Republican, said her "sincerest thoughts and prayers go to the families, friends and coworkers" at the FedEx facility.
"There are Hoosiers who will no longer be with us, and there are families who will never recover because of last night's senseless act of violence," Crouch said. "I am thankful for our first responders who acted swiftly to come to the aid of Hoosiers, and I know our law enforcement officers at the local, state and federal levels will use all resources necessary while they work through this tragic event."
In Washington, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said he and his wife, Maureen, only learned of the late Thursday night shooting at the shipping facility near the Indianapolis International Airport early Friday morning.
"Our hearts are mourning for the individuals who’ve senselessly lost their lives, all of their loved ones, and their co-workers at FedEx who will be dealing with this tragedy for a long time to come," Braun said.
"Thank you to the members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line and responded heroically to this situation."
U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., concurred: "The shooting at FedEx was a senseless tragedy. Indiana and the nation mourn for the lives lost and forever changed last night," Young said.
Meanwhile, Ali Brown, a Democratic member of the Indianapolis City-County Council originally from Portage, said she was "heartbroken and angry" when she learned of the FedEx shooting.
"Now, there are eight empty chairs at dinner tables and lives have been permanently altered because of inaction and a refusal to show some proactive responsibility to a problem that’s crippled our country, Indiana, and the Indianapolis community for too long," Brown said.
She called on the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly and Holcomb to immediately take action to curb the "epidemic" of gun violence in the Hoosier State prior to the Legislature's planned adjournment of its regular annual session Wednesday or Thursday.
"We must mourn the Hoosiers whose lives were cut way too short, but we must also take action to prevent another tragedy like this from happening on Indiana soil," Brown said. "If that means passing background check legislation, banning automatic rifles, and advocating for other common-sense gun control measures, let’s get that done.
"Let’s also remember to thank our Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the first responders for bravely taking what could likely be the worst call they’ll receive in their careers. We owe them our gratitude for keeping us safe during these uncertain times."
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, now U.S. transportation secretary under Democratic President Joe Biden, agreed: "We wake up once more to news of a mass shooting, this time in Indiana. No country should accept this now-routine horror. It’s long past time to act," he said.
Their calls to action are unlikely to be heard inside the Statehouse, where the Indiana Senate on Monday proclaimed its eternal opposition to any limits on the gun rights established by the U.S. Constitution and the Indiana Constitution.
Senate Resolution 39 declares the Indiana Senate opposes "any punitive taxes, fines, confiscations, restrictions, or prohibitions concerning lawful firearms, accessories, or ammunition."
"It is the policy of the Indiana Senate that Indiana will not restrict or otherwise limit or penalize the manufacture, possession, sale, distribution, or purchase of firearms based on their ornamentation or appearance, or on their magazine or ammunition capacity," the resolution states.
The resolution was adopted 40-10 with all Senate Republicans, and state Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, voting yes, and the 10 other Senate Democrats opposed.
It has no force of law, but the resolution's supporters said a clear statement of their position is necessary to combat what they see as a federal government hostile to an individual right to keep and bear arms.
The resolution was adopted after Senate President Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, derailed a House-approved proposal, House Bill 1369, that would have allowed Hoosiers 18 and older to carry handguns in public without being required to obtain a state license.
State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, said he remains determined to act against gun violence, even as his prayers are "with those who are mourning this tragic and senseless loss of life."
"We must do more as a country to break away from this violent cycle that has become the norm," Melton said. "Our communities deserve safety and peace of mind — we can't keep waking up to mass shootings announcements. We must act on gun safety legislation and put an end to this violent cycle."
Four Democratic state senators representing Indianapolis, including state Sen. J.D. Ford, a graduate of Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, likewise issued a joint statement expressing sympathy for the victims and declaring "this absolutely is not something our families should have to live through."
"We are staying in communication with local authorities while we wait for all the facts to come out. What is certain is that our state must stop turning a blind eye to the amount of gun violence in Indiana. It has long been time to act to reduce the prevalence of guns in our communities," said Ford, state Sens. Jean Breaux, and Fady Qaddoura, and Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor.
This story will be updated. Check back at nwi.com for updates to this story.