Crime Watch 8

Police saw white supremacist websites on FedEx shooter’s computer during 2020 gun seizure, IMPD says

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was sent to reports of shots fired and an active shooter shortly before 11:10 p.m. Thursday at 8951 Mirabel Road. (WISH Photo/Andy Garrison)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On the day in March 2020 that police seized a shotgun from Brandon Hole and took him for a mental health evaluation, an officer saw what he recognized as white supremacist websites on Hole’s computer, more than a year before Hole shot and killed eight people on Thursday night at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.

That’s according to a police report released Monday by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Hole’s mother and sister went to the IMPD’s East District headquarters on March 3, 2020, to ask for help after they said he bought a gun and began talking about using it to try “suicide by cop,” according to the report.

Brandon Scott Hole. (Provided Photo/IMPD)

According to the report, officers went to Hole’s home and took him into custody to be taken to a hospital and seen by a mental health expert. As he was being placed in handcuffs, Hole said, “Please just turn the power strip off on my computer. I don’t want anyone to see what’s on it.”

When an officer went to retrieve Hole’s shotgun, the officer saw what “through his training and experience” he recognized as white supremacist websites. IMPD’s criminal intelligence was informed about the content seen on the computer, and the .410 shotgun was taken to the IMPD property room, the report said.

Police on Monday said that shotgun is still in IMPD custody.

IMPD has a unit dedicated to mental health issues. And like any investigation, a detective makes a report and hands it over to the prosecutor’s office. According to IMPD, Hole’s file was presented to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for review and was screened on March 11, 2020.

“They submit that information to the prosecutor’s office and then they do an assessment and decide whether or not to move forward in the judicial process and go into court,” said Deputy Chief Craig McCartt with IMPD.

The details from IMPD come as Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears on Monday said his office did not seek a hearing under Indiana’s “red flag” law because they did not have enough time under the law’s restrictions to definitively demonstrate Brandon Scott Hole’s propensity for suicidal thoughts.

Mears said his office didn’t file any paperwork that would have kept Hole from buying additional guns because Hole was not considered a threat once police took his shotgun. 

“So we are left with a situation where we have one incident, he was treated by a mental health professional, they didn’t civilly commit him, they didn’t prescribe him any additional medication, and he was cut loose,” said Mears. 

The Jake Laird Law, Indiana’s red flag law, gives the prosecutor 14 days to make a case that a person is a danger to themselves or others. Once that determination is made, it is up to judge to take any firearms and to put the person on the red flag list. Since the prosecutor didn’t file any paperwork with a judge, Hole was free to legally buy a firearm.  

“There was nothing to stop him from getting one again anyways. The sad reality is that during dependency of these matters, there is nothing prohibiting someone from purchasing a firearm,” Mears said.  

Police recovered a Ruger AR-556 and an HM Defense HM15F from the FedEx facility. Hole purchased the HM Defense in July 2020 and the Ruger in September 2020, both through legally authorized dealers, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined. There is no indication that any modifications were made to either gun, IMPD said.

The prosecutor’s office on Monday did not tell News 8 how many red flag cases have been sent to their office this year. I-Team 8’s Richard Essex learned that fewer than 10 people have been placed on the red flag list this year.

IMPD recovered 191 guns in 2020 due to the Jake Laird Law, the department said Monday.