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Victims in FedEx mass shooting seeking millions from city for Red Flag Law failure

Harpreet Singh was shot in the head during the April 15 gunfire. Lakhwinder Kaur had a bullet graze to her left arm. Gurinder Bains' father was killed.

INDIANAPOLIS — NOTE: The above video is from a report on the Red Flag Law in Indiana.

Two victims and the family of a man killed in the FedEx mass shooting have sent a notice to the City of Indianapolis about a possible lawsuit. They are seeking $2.1 million in compensation from the city over failing to file a red flag case against the shooter a year before the mass shooting.

Harpreet Singh was shot in the head during the April 15 gunfire. The bullet is still lodged in the side of his skull. According to the letter, he suffered "hospitalization, multiple surgical procedures, extensive rehabilitation, inability to work at full capacity, and continued physical and psychological injuries."

Lakhwinder Kaur had a bullet graze to her left arm. She was standing behind Jaswinder Singh when he was shot to death. The letter claims she has suffered from substantial psychological trauma.

Gurinder Bains is the son of Jaswinder Singh and is seeking compensation on behalf of his father's estate.

The Oct. 12 letter to the city is not a lawsuit, it is simply notifying the city of the potential for a lawsuit, which is required to be filed within 180 days from the date of the incident.

"We are statutorily required to provide adequate notice to the City of Indianapolis and Marion County within a certain time period to protect our clients' rights in regards to the filing of a lawsuit related to last April's tragedy. Accordingly, we submitted this notice of claims last month to meet that obligation. We remain in close conversation with our clients about their injuries and ongoing needs as we and our co-counsels at Winston & Strawn continue providing pro bono support to chart the course forward and work on these matters," said Amrith Kaur Aakre, the Sikh Coalition legal director, in a statement to 13News.

Each victim is requesting $700,000 in compensation. 

The Office of Corporation Counsel for Indianapolis responded to a 13News request for comment with the following statement:

Out of respect for the judicial process, we do not comment on tort claims filed with this Office.

RELATED: Faces of the victims in the Indianapolis FedEx mass shooting

Why the Red Flag Law wasn't used with the FedEx shooter

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said in April that loopholes in Indiana's red flag law that prevented the office from getting the information needed to determine the FedEx mass shooting suspect was dangerous and keep him from buying guns after a 2020 police call. 

In that March 2020 incident, the suspect's mother was concerned he might attempt "suicide by cop." Police intervened, took the 19-year-old to the hospital and seized a shotgun he had purchased within 24 hours of that 2020 incident. That weapon was never returned to him.

The prosecutor's office said that because the family said it would not seek the return of the gun, that provision was not taken.

The prosecutor's office then looked to see if the suspect could be deemed a dangerous person. The office said it was a single incident, the individual was in the hospital for only a matter of hours before being released and that no medicine was prescribed. 

Due to those factors, the prosecutor's office did not move forward with the red flag law to deem the suspect as dangerous.

RELATED: Prosecutor points to red flag law loopholes that allowed FedEx mass shooting suspect to buy more guns

"What we're required to document and demonstrate is that we needed to establish that propensity [for violence] and this individual was taken and treated by medical professionals and he was cut loose. They didn't do so much as prescribe him any additional medication after he walked out of there...or any medication," Mears said. "So we're left with a situation where, we have one incident, he was treated by mental health professionals, they didn't civilly commit him, they didn't prescribe him any additional medication and he was cut loose. And so for us, the risk is, if we move forward with that proceeding and we lose, guess what happens? That firearm goes right back to that person." 

If it had been filed and the court finds probable cause, within 14 days of the seizure, the court must hold a hearing. The hearing would then determine whether the firearms will be seized or retained and the prosecutor's office represents the state at this hearing.

Prosecutor Mears said because the state only has 14 days to move forward with a court filing, it limits their access to medical records and mental health records, especially when in Indiana entities have 30 days to respond to a subpoena for records. Mears said that severely limits what they are able to do.

When asked about the red flag law working at keeping guns away from dangerous individuals, Mears said, "I think this case shows the limitations."

Without the red flag law being used, the FedEx suspect was able to purchase a rifle legally in July of 2020 and then another rifle in September of 2020.

Indiana's Red Flag Law

Indiana's red flag law allows the seizure and retention of firearms from dangerous and mentally ill persons.

Seizures can be made with or without a warrant, depending on probable cause. If it is with a warrant, the officer has to explain why the person is dangerous and needs a weapon taken away. If approved, it allows for the following:

  • Seizure of the firearms
  • Law enforcement retention of the firearms
  • Suspension of the individual’s license to carry handgun, if he or she has one; and
  • Prohibition of the individual from renting, receiving transfer of, owning, or possessing firearms.

If it is without a warrant, later court approval is necessary and the officer needs to file an affidavit with the court.

  • The affidavit must state the basis for the belief the person is dangerous.
  • The affidavit must include information on quantity and type of firearms seized.

If the court finds the person is "dangerous":

  • Shall order the law enforcement agency to retain the firearms;
  • Shall order the suspension of the individual's license to carry handgun, if he or she has one;
  • Shall enjoin the individual from renting, receiving transfer of, owning, or possessing firearms; and
  • Determine whether the individual should be referred to further proceedings to consider an involuntary detention or commitment under IC 12-26-6-2(a)(2)(B).

If the court orders the firearms held, a person can file a petition after 180 days seeking a finding that they are no longer dangerous:

  • If not later than one (1) year, individual must prove by a preponderance that he or she is no longer dangerous.
  • If later than one (1) year, state must prove by clear and convincing evidence the individual is still dangerous.

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