Joe Biden has described mass shootings as a “national embarrassment” that has to end.
A day after eight people were killed in an attack at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, the US president said more must be done to reduce gun violence – and urged Congress to ban military-style assault weapons.
“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation,” Mr Biden told a White House briefing on Friday.
Mr Biden faces an uphill battle to significantly change the nation’s firearms laws, despite the fact that 43,539 Americans died of gun violence in 2020.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “horrified and heartbroken” by Thursday’s incident and called for Congress to “urgently enact common sense” on gun control.
Families who have lost loved ones to gun violence have expressed frustration by the country’s inaction.
Peter Read, whose daughter Mary was one of 32 people killed in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech University in 2007, said: “The time is indeed now to act, but the time has been now to act for years, for decades.”
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Police in Indianapolis have identified Brandon Scott Hole as the suspect behind the mass shooting in Indianapolis.
Deputy police chief Craig McCartt said on Friday that he was known to the authorities after the FBI raided his home last year following a call from his mother saying he might attempt “suicide by cop”.
McCartt told a news briefing that investigators have searched his home for a second time and seized evidence including computers.
Hole opened fire at people in the car park of the FedEx facility where he used to work.
He killed four people outside before entering the building and killing four others before turning the gun on himself, McCartt told reporters.
“There was no disturbance, there was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting,” he said.
At least five other people were injured – one critically – with some walking to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The attack happened when employees at the facility, where Hole was last known to have worked in 2020, were changing shifts or having a meal break, the police chief said.
His colleague Randal Taylor said that a “significant” number of staff at the site were Sikh, after a local faith group said they were “sad to confirm” at least four of the victims were members of the community.
The eight were named by the police on Friday as Matthew R Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Johal, Jaswinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Skhon, Karlie Smith and John Weisert.
Meanwhile, US police are continuing to face scrutiny over the fatal shootings of black men at the hands of law enforcement – as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of murdering George Floyd, continues.
In Chicago, people have been protesting the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot by police on 29 March.
Tensions spilled over after bodycam footage was released showing the teenager’s final moments.
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In the video, Mr Toledo, who was Latino, can be seen running away from police down an alley as an officer shouts for him to stop and show his hands.
The boy obliges, stops and appears to hold his hands up as the officer shouts “drop it”.
But a shot is then heard as the officer repeats the command, and the boy crumples to the ground while the officer asks if he is alright and calls for an ambulance.
Police say Mr Toledo was carrying a handgun, which was found at the scene.
It comes after a separate shooting left 20-year-old Daunte Wright dead in Minneapolis on 11 April.
Video footage shows white police officer Kim Potter shoot Mr Wright, who was black, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center.
Potter claims she accidentally used her gun instead of a Taser, but she has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Daily protests have been taking place outside the local police station ever since, with officers using tear gas grenades and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators.
Mayor Mike Elliott hit back at police this week, warning that “gassing is not a human way of policing”.
“This is a request and not an attempt to limit necessary law enforcement response,” he told a news briefing on Friday.