FedEx shooter was Brony obsessed with My Little Ponies

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Brandon Scott Hole, 19, was a ‘Brony’ who posted about My Little Pony just before killing eight people on Thursday

The gunman who killed eight at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis was a ‘Brony’ obsessed with the children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, who was allowed to legally purchase rifles despite having his own shotgun seized.

Brandon Scott Hole, 19, never had a competency hearing after police seized his gun over suicide concerns last year under Indiana’s ‘red flag’ gun law, records show. 

If a judge had found him dangerous or incompetent at the hearing, Hole would have been barred from buying another gun. If not, his shotgun would have been returned to him under state law. 

Public records show his gun was seized last March 3, after his mother called the authorities over concerns Hole had said he wanted to commit ‘suicide by cop’. However, the nation then went into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the globe, closing courts, which may explain why he never received a hearing. 

Meanwhile, investigators continued to seek a motive in the massacre as Hole’s bizarre final Facebook post offered little insight on what drove him to the shooting. 

‘I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,’ wrote Hole on Facebook at 10.19pm on Thursday, less than an hour before the massacre, according to the Wall Street Journal

Applejack is the main character of the children’s show My Little Pony.

Hole had two Facebook accounts, which the company deleted soon after the shootings at the request of law enforcement, Facebook said in an internal memo obtained by the Journal.

Investigators had hoped Hole’s online history would shed light on his motives – but Facebook said in the memo that his accounts focused mostly on My Little Pony.

Known as ‘Bronies’ — a mashup of ‘bro’ and ‘ponies’ — the subculture of adult men obsessed with the kid’s show ‘has displayed elements of far-right and white nationalist extremism,’ the memo said, but added that Hole’s postings showed no clear indication those were motivations in the shooting.

Brony subculture first emerged soon after the show’s 2010 debut, and in the early days had links to the military, with many active-duty service members professing their love for the sweet children’s cartoon.

'I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,' Hole wrote on Facebook soon before the shooting in Indianapolis. Applejack (above) is the star of the popular children's cartoon.

‘I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,’ Hole wrote on Facebook soon before the shooting in Indianapolis. Applejack (above) is the star of the popular children’s cartoon.

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Investigators are still seeking a motive for the shooting, which killed eight, including four members of the Sikh community

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Investigators are still seeking a motive for the shooting, which killed eight, including four members of the Sikh community

The first ‘BronyCon’ gathering in 2011 attracted just 100 adult fans, but swelled in size to more than 10,000 before the organizers held the last event in 2019, citing dwindling interest. 

What are Bronies? 

‘Bronies’ — a mashup of ‘bro’ and ‘ponies’ — is the subculture of adult men obsessed with the kid’s show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. 

Brony subculture first emerged soon after the show’s 2010 debut, and in the early days had links to the military, with many active-duty service members professing their love for the sweet children’s cartoon. 

The first ‘BronyCon’ gathering in 2011 attracted just 100 adult fans, but swelled in size to more than 10,000 before the organizers held the last event in 2019, citing dwindling interest. 

While the subculture mostly consists of innocent fans of the show’s wholesome themes, it has also been known to attract pedophiles and white supremacists, who spread hateful messages through fan art of the cartoon ponies with racist themes.

While the subculture mostly consists of innocent fans of the show’s wholesome themes, it has also been known to attract pedophiles and white supremacists, who spread hateful messages through fan art of the cartoon ponies with racist themes.

‘This is a fan community that has prided itself on a permissiveness and pushing boundaries and cloaking themselves in irony and the idea that they can make the mainstream uncomfortable,’ Anne Gilbert, an instructor of media studies at University of Georgia and expert on the My Little Pony fandom, told the Atlantic last year. ‘That has been a source of pride.’ 

Hole died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound following the shooting at the FedEx facility on Thursday night. 

Authorities have not revealed a motive in the shooting, but the Sikh Coalition has called for an investigation into ‘bias as a possible motive’ after it was revealed four of the eight victims were from their tight-knit community.

Hole was fired by FedEx sometime last year, and had worked at the facility he targeted, where members of the Sikh community make up an overwhelming majority of the workforce.

The Marion County Coroner´s office identified the dead late Friday as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74. 

Last spring Hole was briefly placed under psychiatric detention by police when his mother reported her concerns that he was contemplating ‘suicide by cop,’ according to the FBI. A shotgun was seized from his home, and was not returned to him.

FBI agents who interviewed the teenager last April found no criminal violation at the time and determined he possessed no ‘racially motivated violent extremism ideology,’ said Paul Keenan, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office.

A trace of the two guns found by investigators at the scene revealed that Hole legally bought the rifles last July and September, officials with the Indianapolis police said Saturday.

Bronies are seen at the final BronyCon in 2019, at the Baltimore Convention Center. The subculture of adult men obsessed with the kid's show 'has displayed elements of far-right and white nationalist extremism,' according to Facebook

Bronies are seen at the final BronyCon in 2019, at the Baltimore Convention Center. The subculture of adult men obsessed with the kid’s show ‘has displayed elements of far-right and white nationalist extremism,’ according to Facebook

Fans dressed as

Fans dressed as “My Little Pony” characters take a photo during the last BronyCon convention in 2019

The police did not say where Hole bought what they described as ‘assault rifles,’ citing the ongoing investigation, but said he was seen using both rifles during the shooting.

Details about the weapons’ make, model and caliber won’t be released until the investigation is complete, said Genae Cook, a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Republican Senator Todd Young on Sunday questioned whether Indiana’s red flag gun laws ‘were actually enforced’ to prevent the shooting.

Indiana has had a ‘red flag law’ allowing police or courts to seize guns from people who show warning signs of violence since 2005. 

It became one of the first states to enact such a law after an Indianapolis police officer was killed by a man whose weapons had to be returned despite hospitalization months earlier for an emergency mental health evaluation.

The law is intended to prevent people from purchasing or possessing a firearm if they are found by a judge to present ‘an imminent risk’ to themselves or others.

Senator Todd Young, R-Ind., speaks with members of the Sikh Coalition at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis. Young on Sunday questioned whether Indiana's red flag gun laws 'were actually enforced' to prevent the shooting

Senator Todd Young, R-Ind., speaks with members of the Sikh Coalition at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis. Young on Sunday questioned whether Indiana’s red flag gun laws ‘were actually enforced’ to prevent the shooting

Maninder Singh Walia, a leader of the Sikh coalition of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, speaks during a vigil at Monument Circle for the victims of the mass shooting at the FedEx facility on Sunday

Maninder Singh Walia, a leader of the Sikh coalition of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, speaks during a vigil at Monument Circle for the victims of the mass shooting at the FedEx facility on Sunday

Members of the Sikh community gather at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis on Sunday following the shooting

Members of the Sikh community gather at the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis on Sunday following the shooting

Authorities have two weeks after seizing someone’s weapon to argue in court that the person should not be allowed to possess a gun. 

Officials have not said whether a Hole’s case was brought before a judge. Michael Leffler, a spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor, said Sunday that the office is ‘looking into this matter.’

Young also called for more mental health services across all level of governments.

‘We know that we have a Hoosier family who cried out for help, knowing they had a child who required mental health treatment. We know we have members of our law enforcement community who, for a period of time, responded to that call for help. And we know that in the end, that wasn´t enough,’ he said before addressing a gathering at the Gurdwara Sikh Satsang, a Sikh house of worship on the east side of Indianapolis.

Gaganpal S. Dhaliwal, a member of the Sikh community who also spoke at the gathering Sunday, added that victims’ families want to see ‘common sense gun laws’ and stricter hate crime policies.

‘This shooter had a shotgun confiscated, but he was still able to get his hands on rifles,’ Dhaliwal said. ‘ We need to make sure that guns don´t end up in the wrong hands.’

Dhaliwal also called for roughly two dozen fast-tracked visas from the U.S. and Indian governments to allow relatives to travel for funeral ceremonies that will take place in the next two weeks, he said.

Amarjit Sekhon, 48

Jasvinder Kaur, 50, moved to the U.S. in 2018 and had two children, a daughter and a son

Victims: Amarjit Sekhon, 48, (left) was a mother of two boys, 22 and 16, and a member of the Sikh community, Jasvinder Kaur, 50, (right) moved to the U.S. in 2018 and had two children, a daughter and a son

Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66, was a member of the Sikh community, as well as a grandmother

Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66, was a member of the Sikh community, as well as a grandmother

Jaswinder Singh, 68

Samaria Blackwell, 19, one of the youngest victims

Pictured: Jaswinder Singh, 68, and Samaria Blackwell, 19, one of the youngest victims

Hole was a former employee at the FedEx facility who left his job last year, police said. Authorities have not yet announced a possible motive for the attack.

Hole´s family said in a statement they are ‘so sorry for the pain and hurt’ his actions caused.

The attack was another blow to the Asian American community a month after authorities said six people of Asian descent were killed by a gunman in the Atlanta area and amid ongoing attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

About 90 percent of the workers at the FedEx warehouse near the Indianapolis International Airport are members of the local Sikh community, police said.

The shooting is the deadliest incident of violence collectively in the Sikh community in the U.S. since 2012, when a white supremacist burst into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and shot 10 people, killing seven. 

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