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Karli Smith played softball at Crispus Attucks. She was killed in the FedEx shooting.

Sarah Bowman
Indianapolis Star

Karli Smith, a beloved sister and daughter, was one of eight people killed by a gunman at the FedEx Ground Plainfields Operation Center on Thursday night. She was 19 years old. 

"She was a lovely, beautiful and youthful teenage girl," a family member told IndyStar. "She had just started to buckle down and get a job and take life a little more serious."

This was Smith's first paycheck, said the family member, who asked to not be named. She had just started working at the FedEx facility two weeks ago. Smith’s family last heard from her at 10:59 p.m. Thursday night, according to a Facebook post. They later learned that “she didn’t make it.”

A photo of Karli Smith, 19. Smith, a sister and daughter, was one of eight people killed by a gunman at the FedEx Ground Plainfields Operation Center on Thursday night.

Smith was born and raised in Indianapolis. She attended Daniel Webster School 46 through most of elementary and middle school, and Crispus Attucks and George Washington high schools. She graduated in 2020 from George Washington, "where she was known as a hardworking and dedicated student," according to a statement from Indianapolis Public Schools. 

While at Crispus Attucks, she played on the softball team and "was loved by her teammates and coaches," the statement said. Smith also played basketball and volleyball during middle school.

"Administrators, teachers and classmates remember Karli for her sense of humor that often generated smiles and laughter," the statement said. "Karli was a bright light wherever she went. She will be dearly missed by all throughout IPS who knew and loved her."

She had a "vibrant spirit," the family member said, and "like a typical teenage girl, was stubborn and taking life by the horns." 

The family member last spoke with Smith on Tuesday night. She had several brothers and sisters, both younger and older. 

"There is nothing to understand, no real purpose or meaning," the family member said, adding that they are "left with only the love and memories."

Several posts from family friends on Facebook said how their hearts broke when they heard the news about Smith. One says that "God gained a beautiful angel" while another said that they will forever love Smith and she "never will be forgotten." 

Police responded to reports of shots fired at the FedEx facility about 11 p.m. Thursday night. Authorities identified the gunman as a 19-year-old who was a former FedEx employee

FedEx shooting victim: Grandmother Amarjeet Kaur Johal among victims killed at FedEx facility Thursday

Indianapolis police have identified the eight people killed in the mass shooting Thursday evening at a FedEx center. Four of the victims were members of the Sikh community, according to statements from the Sikh Coalition.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the Marion County Coroner's Office will determine the causes of death after autopsies are complete. 

The shooting, considered the deadliest mass shooting in Indianapolis in 15 years, also left multiple injured. It's the third mass shooting in Indianapolis since the beginning of the year.

*Correction: A previous version of this story said Smith graduated from Crispus Attucks High School. She attended Crispus Attucks, but graduated from George Washington High School.

Call IndyStar reporter Sarah Bowman at 317-444-6129 or email at sarah.bowman@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @IndyStarSarah. Connect with IndyStar’s environmental reporters: Join The Scrub on Facebook.