INDIANAPOLIS — The president of the Indianapolis police union on Thursday blasted Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears for failing to file a red flag law petition that might have stopped Brandon Scott Hole from buying the weapons he used to kill eight at a FedEx facility last week.
“The Marion County prosecutor failed to do his part by filing the necessary paperwork with the courts that would have triggered the hearing required under the statute,” said Rick Snyder, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 86.
In March 2020, Hole’s mother called police saying her son wanted to die by suicide by cop. Officers seized a shotgun and took Hole to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Snyder said prosecutors could have used the red flag law, known in Indiana as the Jake Laird law, to convince a judge to keep the seized shotgun away from Hole and block him from buying more guns.
When Hole’s family agreed to forfeit the shotgun, the prosecutor’s office said it did not file a petition.
There was no hearing, no way for a judge to decide if Hole remained a danger and no opportunity to stop Hole from legally buying the assault-style rifles he used in the FedEx attack, Snyder said.
“The ultimate responsibility for this tragic event rests with the criminal suspect,” Snyder said. “However, the magnitude of this tragedy begs important questions: Why didn't the prosecutor seek the hearing that the statute requires? Why didn't the prosecutor use all the legal tools available?”
Mears on Thursday declined to respond to Snyder’s comments.
During a news conference Monday, Mears blamed limits on the red flag law for tying his hands in the case of Hole's mental health.
Under the law, Mears said prosecutors must prove with clear and convincing evidence that Hole was violent or mentally unstable.
Mears said Hole spent hours in the hospital as opposed to days or weeks. Hole was given no medication, Mears said.
Prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to win, Mears said.
And losing in court, Mears said, would have meant the shotgun gets returned to Hole.
“We were then in that position to fulfill the purpose and intent of the law as we were able to take the firearm out of that residence and they agreed to not seek the return of that weapon,” Mears said.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @vicryc.