INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Carlos Castro wanted to drive his truck around for a while to use up gas in the tank so he could perform some mechanical work later on the vehicle.
His wife asked, while he was out, if he could stop at the store and pick up some juice. So Castro went to the Kroger at 4202 S. East St. in Southern Plaza.
Meanwhile, Jason Cooper said he was dropped off at the Kroger by “some guy,” but later didn’t remember anything that happened in the grocery “except that everyone in the store including the babies in strollers had guns.”
New details of how Castro and Cooper met inside the store Friday night — ending with Castro’s homicide in the dairy department at Kroger — came to light with court documents released Tuesday that outlined the charges against Cooper. The documents also revealed details collected by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and other authorities about the taking of a Kroger customer’s car and a police chase involving Cooper.
Some of the details came from police interviews with the suspect and 10 people — at least three Kroger employees and at least five customers — who saw Cooper in the store. The deadly attack happened about 8:30 p.m.
One woman in the store told police she heard Cooper tell Castro “give me your cellphone, give me your cellphone.”
Castro replied, “No, man, you’re not getting my damn cellphone.”
The woman then watched Cooper taking out a knife and stabbing Castro. Then Cooper shot Castro once, causing Castro to fall onto his back. Next, Cooper put his foot on Castro’s chest and shot him again.
A coroner listed the 43-year-old’s cause of death as homicide. Castro “suffered two gunshot wounds, one to the head and one to the left flank,” the documents said. “He also suffered three apparent stab wounds, one to the center chest, one to the left neck, and one to the left stomach.”
The coroner said both gunshot wounds and the stab to the center chest would have been lethal.
In charging Cooper, prosecutors said he took the gun from Castro. Authorities said a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun was found in the car taken from store parking lot.
A woman had called 911 to report that a man with a gun demanded her silver 2007 Toyota Camry as she was backing out of a handicapped space in the Kroger parking lot.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I need your car now!” the man said to her.
He drove away.
Later, in talking with authorities, Cooper told authorities he “didn’t want to hurt the old lady because she was nice.”
An patrolling IMPD officer saw a silver Toyota Camry with the same license plate number the woman had called in to 911. It was about 10 minutes after the deadly attack at the Kroger. The officer said the Camry disregarded a traffic signal at South Meridian Street and East Thompson Road, which is about a five-minute drive from the grocery.
The officer turned on his lights and siren, then chased the Camry with speeds up to 35 mph above the posted speed limit. The Camry eventually crashed into two unoccupied vehicles at the Hubler Nissan dealership at 8435 U.S. 31, about a half-mile north of the Greenwood Park Mall.
A man later identified as Cooper exited the Camry, jumped over the car’s hood and ran south on foot to the east end of the Hubler Nissan dealership. Cooper then stopped running and put his hands in the air. An officer placed Cooper in handcuffs and walked him back to Camry.
“I did the right thing, I did the right thing,” Cooper yelled as he was walked back to the crash scene.
The handgun was found in the passenger seat. A shell casing was found in the chamber, another under the passenger seat. Two unused bullets were still in the magazine.
The gun, the car and Cooper’s clothing had blood on them, although a medic later determined Cooper had no open wounds or injuries. Cooper told the medic that the blood “must be the other guy’s blood.”
As the medic asked medical questions, Cooper told the medic, “I didn’t want to shoot the guy, but he pointed the gun at me, so I got a knife and stabbed him.”
“Everyone in the lot had guns and he had to get out of there.”
In talking with the medic, Cooper eventually admitted to snorting a line of methamphetamine.
As Cooper was put into an ambulance to be taken to Eskenazi Hospital, a police sergeant overheard Cooper say that “sometimes you can look at someone and know what they’re thinking.
“So when he made a move, I stuck him with a knife.”
Castro died on the floor of the dairy department. He wore an empty gun holster on his waist.
A Kroger employee who saw the scuffle in the dairy aisle said he recognized the attacker. Just moments earlier, the attacker had asked where the kitchen knifes were in the store. The employee showed him.
Surveillance video captured Castro and Cooper in the store. In one video, Cooper is seen riding a scooter provided by the store for people who are handicapped. Later, Cooper is seen walking around the store.
Due to construction at the Kroger, not all of its surveillance cameras were operational; that included the camera in the dairy department.
The 37-year-old Cooper will be formally charged Wednesday morning in Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division 5, with murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, armed robbery and resisting law enforcement.