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Marion Co. Prosecutor says Indiana's red flag law wouldn't have stopped FedEx mass shooter

FedEx mass shooter Brandon Hole.png
Posted at 11:33 AM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 20:44:50-04

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said Indiana's Red Flag Law was not used after police confiscated a shotgun from Brandon Scott Hole months before he purchased the firearms used in the FedEx mass shooting.

Mears held a press conference Monday morning to address the red flag law and what impact it had on the FedEx shooter.

He said legislative limitations and the circumstances surrounding that original seizure ultimately led to his office's decision not to file the red flag petition against Hole.

On March 3, 2020, Brandon Hole’s mother called and said her son was feeling suicidal. Arriving officers detained Hole and seized a shotgun from his home.

During the incident, Mears said the shotgun was forfeited to IMPD and the family agreed not to try to get it back.

Under the Jake Laird Law, an officer must then file a petition stating why they had probable cause to take the weapon. But because the family had agreed to forfeit the weapon, and they didn't want it back, a petition was never filed.

“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.

Mears went on to explain that even if they had decided to file that petition, it would have been hard to argue a case strong enough to keep Hole from both getting his shotgun back and from buying other weapons.

The law gives two weeks for the case to be filed and heard by a judge, which Mears argues would not have been enough time for his office to subpoena Hole's medical history and other records required to make a successful case.

"In addition to that there’s also a provision that deals with the issue 'can you establish by clear and convincing evidence does this person have a violent propensity or mental instability?' So we needed to be able to establish that, or, has this person been diagnosed with a mental illness and do they take their prescribed medication," Mears said.

He also said that if his office had pursued the Red Flag designation and failed, they would have been forced to give Hole back the shotgun that they had already confiscated.

"So what we did in this particular case, we evaluated the facts and circumstances as they were presented to us in keeping mind the burden of clear, convincing and violent propensity," Mears said."In this particular situation, we had a case where it was just a single incident, there were not any other incidents that were reported to us, the firearm was taken from the home – there was an agreement that that firearm would not be returned."

Mears said Hole was also involuntarily committed for a brief period of time.

"I can’t get into too many specifics on that but I will tell you that the length of that stay was measured by hours – and not days or weeks, and no follow-up medication was prescribed to that individual," Mears said.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Hole went on to purchase an assault rifle in July 2020 and another in September 2020. He would later use those weapons to kill eight people and injure five others at an Indianapolis FedEx facility.

Watch the Marion Co. Prosecutor's full press conference below.

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