After a gunman rampaged through a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis International Airport on Thursday night, many people had no way of knowing whether their loved ones were among the eight killed or numerous wounded, as the company does not allow employees to keep cellphones on them while they’re working. One reporter said FedEx requires people to “give up and lock” their phones during working hours.
As a result, many concerned relatives were unable to reach their loved ones inside the warehouse. Authorities asked members of the public who were seeking answers to gather at a nearby Holiday Inn to await further instruction.
Local reports suggested that the no-phone policy had added to the confusion and distress in the aftermath of the shooting.
One woman who came to the hotel said she had been calling and texting her nephew, and still didn’t know whether or not he was OK.
“They said their phones are locked up. They can’t have them at work,” she said.
Another relative of a FedEx worker said “nobody knows anything” and that she hadn’t been able to contact her father.
Some were more fortunate. A man explained to local media that his wife, an employee at the facility, had been able to text him to tell him there was an active shooter. Although she stopped communicating for “a while,” she later messaged to say she was safe.
It appears that FedEx is now rethinking its no-phone policy. A representative of the company told Business Insider it was re-evaluating the policy in the wake of the tragic incident.
“Our focus at this time is on the safety and wellbeing of our team members and cooperating with investigators,” Heather Wilson, a crisis communications manager at FedEx, told the outlet.
Indianapolis police say the shooter used some kind of “rifle” to carry out the attack, and took his own life after killing eight people. Four other victims were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and another with wounds that were possibly from “shrapnel.” All five are currently in a stable condition.
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