FedEx Shooting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Last week we noted the manner in which Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears’ intentional inaction had allowed the Indianapolis FedEx spree shooter to legally buy the firearms he used. That fact spilled out into public view after Brandon Scott Hole murdered eight people and then killed himself.

Mears, playing the garden variety elected official, has attempted to deflect blame, responsibility and inconvenient questions about how his office operates by claiming the state’s red flag law is the real problem. But that transparent dodge is getting harder for the prosecutor and he’s now taking flak from all sides.

From the Associated Press . . .

An Indiana prosecutor is facing mounting criticism for declining to pursue court hearings that could have prevented a man from accessing the guns used to shoot and kill eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.

The leader of the Indianapolis police union said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears “failed to do his part” when he chose not to bring Brandon Scott Hole before a judge for a hearing under Indiana’s “red flag” law, even after his mother called police last year to say her son might pursue “suicide by cop.”

“Unfortunately, the lack of action by the Marion County prosecutor prevented a court hearing, which could have … prohibited the suspect from owning … any other firearms,” Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder said. “Why didn’t the prosecutor seek the hearing that the statute requires? Why didn’t the prosecutor use all the legal tools available? Why didn’t the prosecutor try?”

The law allows police to confiscate guns from a person deemed dangerous to themselves or others. Prosecutors can then decide whether to ask a court to ban that person from buying any other firearms.

The law came under scrutiny following the assault after Mears criticized it for having too many “loopholes.” Despite calls from Democratic lawmakers’ to review and strengthen the red flag provisions, those actions were put on hold. The 2021 legislative session ended Thursday.

Police seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole, then 18, in March 2020 after they received the call from his mother. Mears said Monday that prosecutors did not seek a “red flag” hearing to try to prevent Hole from possessing a gun because they did not have enough time under the law to definitively demonstrate his propensity for suicidal thoughts.

Mears specifically pointed to a 2019 change in the law that requires courts to make a “good-faith effort” to hold a hearing within 14 days. An additional amendment requires authorities to file an affidavit with the court within 48 hours.

“This individual was taken and treated by medical professionals and he was cut loose,” and was not even prescribed any medication, Mears said. “The risk is, if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person. That’s not something we were willing to do.”

Indianapolis police previously said that they never returned that shotgun to Hole. Authorities have said he used two “assault-style” rifles to gun down eight people, four of them from the city’s Sikh community, at the FedEx facility on April 15 before he killed himself.

Members and leaders of the Sikh community have demanded that law enforcement conduct a “thorough” and “transparent” investigation, including a probe into the possibility of bias as Hole’s motivation, said Satjeet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. Those calls have so far avoided direct criticism of Mears, however.

“If it is determined that there was a failure in this law that could have prevented this tragedy from happening, the law should be fixed,” Kaur said. “If the law was incorrectly implemented as written, the parties responsible must be held accountable.”

Republican state Sen. Erin Houchin, who sponsored the 2019 changes to Indiana’s red flag law, said it “could have worked just as it should” in the Hole case.

“I think that had the prosecutor followed the red flag procedure in this case, then this 19-year-old might have not been able to purchase a second firearm after the family did voluntarily turn over that weapon,” Houchin said.

Mears did not return messages Friday seeking additional comment.

Indiana law does not mandate prosecutors to pursue court hearings in red flag law cases. Houchin said she would consider amending language to “firm up” that process, but only after more facts surrounding the shooting come to light.

Snyder said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has made at least 45 red flag referrals to the prosecutor’s office so far this year. Mears said Monday that his office had filed eight red flag petitions since January. All are still awaiting rulings.

“The prosecutor appears to have raised the suggestion that the system failed, but I would point out that in this instance, the system didn’t fail,” Synder said. “A loophole did not thwart this opportunity, instead the process was sidestepped.”

33 COMMENTS

  1. if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person. That’s not something we were willing to do.”

    So it’s okay if the person (whom the cops felt was such a danger that they TOOK his shotgun) is still able to go out and LEGALLY buy those dastardly “weapons of war” and just casually take a late night stroll through the local FedEx facility randomly killing people and committing suicide… Hmmmm, besides he might have had a reason if his FedEx service was as bad as mine has been recently, I’ve just about quit using any company that does not offer a choice of carriers… FedEx sucks…

    • Never mind after the fact red flag laws what about the insane restrictive laws and policies that catered to and provided the perp with soft targets?

      • Provided soft targets??? Every community, every palace, every business, workplace, store, restaurant, school, doctors office, hospital…is a soft target. What are you saying? For every good guy there is at least one bad guy with bad intentions. The idea is for more good guys to defeat the bad guys. As far as red flag laws go, they should not exist. Period!!! You folks are falling right into a trap set by the anti gunners. Try discussing the motive, oh that hasn’t been determined yet and yet you want a bad law to blame this event on.
        I will always side with the fact that red flag laws are anti constitutional.
        What a bunch of mixed up gun owners. Don’t even try to support a bad law to justify a horrible event. You might as well give up your guns.

        • Red flag laws are a Constitutional failure. If a court deems an individual that dangerous then use existing laws to get psychological evaluations and place the individual in care. They get due process this way and can’t obtain some other method of harming themselves or others. Red flag laws seem to think once legal firearms are confiscated the danger is over. Ignores the fact that illegal firearms can be purchased, a crossbow, homemade explosives, etc. Very short sighted law.

      • Because they didn’t Fuck up. This was done on purpose. Either they wanted a killer to kill. So they can use this for a gun control argument. Which is what Eric Holder wanted. When he supported the Fast and Furious operation. Or it’s just a roll of the dice for them. They are willing to take a chance. Maybe a murder will happen? Or maybe one will not happen.

        But shit does happen.

      • why not just admit they fucked-up?

        Because then they would have to admit they fucked up… Which in itself sets a whole nuther level of consequences into play…

  2. Part of the sales pitch of “red flag” laws is that taking the guns is temporary. If they’d gone through the procedure in March 2020, would this guy have gotten his gun rights back in time to commit a shooting spree a year later? Or, is the “temporary” claim a ruse, and in reality the prohibition gets extended until the victim can [if ever] summon the money and attorney time to fight to get their rights back (despite having never been convicted of anything)?

    • “…would this guy have gotten his gun rights back in time to commit a shooting spree a year later?”

      Here’s the ugly truth – You’re never going to stop this. The freedom of an open society means bad people will be able to commit atrocities.

      That’s literally the price of freedom, and Leftist scum keep lying when they say “This law will stop this”. They know it won’t, they will just keep limiting freedoms with their cynical lies.

      Cars kill at roughly the same rate, and there is no outrage. Countless billions have been spent making them safer, and they still keep on killing. Why? Because the utility they provide makes the death rate acceptable.

      We can corner them on this, if we play it right. They claim lives lost is why they want those laws. We can save 10s of thousands of lives annually setting the national speed limit at 40 MPH strictly enforced.

      If they won’t do something as simple as lowering the speed limit to save lives, why should we give up our freedoms? Those selfish people who just have to get to where they are going a few lousy minutes faster are costing thousands of lives! 😉

      • 2018-2020 U.S. vehicle fatalities 120,860.
        Not even close to the KIA’s in Korea and Vietnam.
        And far less then state side gunm fatalities.
        Humans accept vehicle deaths as a tragedy, but death by gunm ” must do something”. And that something is about taking away a Right.
        I bet secretly theBiden hates the U.S. constitution.

        • possum……I remember when “president” Clinton remarked that people just have too many rights. That thinking seems to be rampant in the socialists minds.

  3. Since this is an AP article, I will look elsewhere to understand what really happened. AP is a scurrilous company of liars, defrauders, spinners, and distortionists. Not a single item they print is to be believed, not even the commas, periods, and exclamation marks; not even the dots over the ‘i’s.

  4. Call me paranoid, but the only thing the “red flag” law was created for was so that elected officials or their rallys could go after their enemies!!!

  5. If I was anyone else who had a gun taken and no hearing I would immediately file a civil rights lawsuit as this sounds like an admission bhe deprived this person of due rights.

  6. Just more feel good legislation that got passed so politicians can say they did something. Another law on the books not being enforced. But please punish law abiding gun owners who did nothing wrong.

  7. Seems like what Mears and co would like is the power to take your property and prevent you from acquiring new property all while indefinitely delaying the process with which you would contest the states action.

    The loophole isn’t that the hearing never happened but that anyone should have expected it to happen. How dare they ask the state to make its case? It might lose!

  8. “This individual was taken and treated by medical professionals and he was cut loose,”

    This just means that they dumped him back on society without addressing the problem. The government need to figure out if they will help people with mental problems, locking away those that are a danger to society, or just allowing them to do anti social things without having responsibility for their actions.

    People that do illegal things and are mentally imbalanced need to be put on a mental health parole with professionals checking to make sure they are taking their meds. If they don’t a stay in a hospital for the criminally insane would be in order.

    Call it a mental health prison if you want. People that can’t/won’t play nice in society need to be away from society. This would solve 90% of the homeless problem.

  9. There is no reason to be uncomfortable. Just follow constitutional law and there won’t be a problem. If this guy is a problem then deal with him and move on.

    It’s these half-hearted attempts at following the law and creating bad law that turn everything sideways.

    Do the right thing and there will not be an issue.

  10. Interesting post by Bear Bussjeager at http://bussjaeger.us/blog/?p=744. Note he shows the law puts the responsibility on the LEO to submit an affidavit to the court.

    But that isn’t how it works, per IC 35-47-14-3:

    “Sec. 3. (a) If a law enforcement officer seizes a firearm from an individual whom the law enforcement officer believes to be dangerous without obtaining a warrant, the law enforcement officer shall submit to the circuit or superior court having jurisdiction over the individual believed to be dangerous an affidavit describing the basis for the law enforcement officer’s belief that the individual is dangerous.”

    The officer who seized the gun is the one who was supposed to file the affidavit, triggering the “red flag” process. Not the prosecutor.

    • In my years as a LEO there was a similar procedure. The affidavit was filled out at the hospital and turned over to hospital personnel which gave them the authority to hold that person for up to 72 hours for observation. The police officers were done with it unless called to testify. The States Attorney represents the police and has the responsibility to access the Court.

    • Keeping in mind that the most unsuccessful thing politicians do. Is create more laws and that’s saying something. Originally the purpose of laws was to provide a prescribed punishment for criminal behavior. Once it was redefined as a deterrent to crime it became the prescribed idiom to prevent criminal activity. Which of course brings us back to the Nexus of the problem. Criminals don’t abide by laws. And the circle jerk continues.

  11. An Unconstitutional red flag Law should never leave an elected Peon room to dodge responsibility, If he was notified, and did not react he is GUILTY, He let the man do it!.
    If he was Not Notified by The Biden FBI ( a bunch of Criminals anyway ) then They are to Blame.

  12. This government employee just made a calculation. He knows that murders happen. So since we can’t stop them from happening. He will just let them happen. Because He knows they can’t be stopped.

  13. He’s the worse thing to happen to law enforcement in Indy. Mear’s is lazy and unqualified and the crime rate is soaring because he has no idea how to do his job.

  14. On a seperate but related note: My friend who is still a Police officer, (retiring this month) refused to attend Red Flag training. the Dept stated that it was mandatory, He stated that he will not be taking any firearm from anyone, unless a crime was commited or he has a search warrant. The admin in the Dept threatened to discipline him, he responded, “Great, fire me. See you in court”. The admin did nothing, I think they didn’t know what to do. That was three years ago. So, yes there are still cops who beleive in the oath they took.

  15. This here is why we need to abolish all gun laws that restrict our 2A Rights. ALL of them.

    This guy should have been put into a mental ward and locked up till they unscrewed what’s wrong in his head (if that). Before gun control really took root in America, we used to lock up our crazies but now we let them run loose and do this sort of thing. Rather than focusing on instruments and seizing them, we ought to be focusing on the person and locking them up.

    The REAL failure lies with the shrinks who refused to give the proper diagnosis. They were the ones who turned him loose. Here in Indiana, they HAVE the authority to hold someone who is a serious threat to themselves or others. They refused to use those powers. They are responsible for everyone who was killed!!

  16. Quote: “Snyder said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has made at least 45 red flag referrals to the prosecutor’s office so far this year. Mears said Monday that his office had filed eight red flag petitions since January.” The prosecutor is setting up another 37 mass shootings. Any law not enforced should be repealed.

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