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'There's nothing you can do to make it better': Police recount waiting with families who lost loved ones in FedEx shooting

It's been nearly a year since eight people died in a shooting at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Lisa Brown remembers the silence. The deafening silence.

"We call it the ministry of presence," she said. "There's nothing we can say. Nothing we can do to fix it. Sometimes you just have to sit with people."

So that's what she and some of the other members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department did in the hours after the FedEx shooting on April 15, 2021.

Brown manages IMPD's victim assistance team. It's made up of 14 people who respond and intervene during a crisis.

This one was like no other.

So many victims.

Families had gathered at a hotel near the FedEx facility, waiting for hours to find out whether their loved one was OK, had been injured in shooting, or worse.

Chief Randall Taylor and his command staff were at the hotel, too.

"You're sensing pain but you're also sensing relief from those families who realize their loved one was not working that night or at that particular area," Taylor said. "Then as that group shrank, despair started to set in when you get down to those last 12, 11, 10, eight families. You know, the outcome is probably not going to be good. That was very difficult."

Brown said some people there wanted to talk.

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

"They kind of naturally put themselves into groups and we would just come over and say, 'do you care if we just sit with you?'" Brown said. "And we encouraged them to tell us about their loved one. So a lot of them shared really personal stories."

It is a bond that remains among some of them one year later. Brown and Taylor said the department remains in contact with some of the people who were there that night.

RELATED: Prayer service held to remember FedEx shooting victims as anniversary nears

Looking back at the year since the shooting, Taylor said the community's support for the victims' families has been remarkable.

"I really felt the community as a whole really rallied around them in the days and weeks that followed," he said. "Prayer vigils, other events and I think we've really taken care of that (FedEx) family. We're still in contact with those families, which makes me proud because I know different people grieve at different levels and speeds. But we are there for them as long as they need us."

RELATED: Widow of FedEx shooting victim says her life will never be the same

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