INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The family of a man slain at a south side grocery store Friday night told FOX59 that he was likely shot to death with his own gun.
Carlos Castro, 43, was the father of three, including a 13-year-old daughter and a son in the U.S. Marines, who carried a gun, “for personal protection.”
Family members said they’ve learned accused killer Jason Cooper may not have been armed with a knife when he first entered the Kroger store at Southern Plaza shortly after eight p.m.
Initial police reports indicated both a knife and a gun were used in the attack. According to a report from the coroner, it's unclear whether Castro died from a stab wound or gunshot wound.
Detectives are awaiting a coroner’s examination to determine Castro’s wounds and manner of death.
One witness told us she watched Cooper walk up the aisle toward her, “and I noticed he didn’t have a shopping cart or had any groceries and he was on his cell phone, a lot of (profane) language, and he turned and I went straight and all of a sudden I heard a commotion and I heard him yelling and I thought, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a fight,’ and then I heard three gunshots.
“I looked down the other way after the gunshots and the guy was running right there at the aisle and it looked like he had a knife in his hand.”
IMPD investigators recovered an empty holster at the scene.
The woman said she did not see Cooper with a gun but the man who ran past her was dressed in a red zip down hoodie which is the same clothing the suspect’s acquaintances described when they saw him last week as he was trying to stay in compliance with the Indiana Sex Offender Registry.
“He showed up and said how he couldn’t get registered and he said how they were trying to get him registered as a sex offender because he wasn’t living here,” said Douglas McLean outside the eastside house where Cooper wanted to pitch a tent in the backyard. “They were kind of threatening to put him in jail for not registering and then on top of that he was trying to register as homeless and he said they were following him.”
McLean said Cooper had previously displayed paranoiac tendencies and smoked methamphetamine.
“I think of all the times he really went bonkers it could have gone a lot worse than it did,” said McLean who recalled Cooper was kicked out of the house for his disruptive behavior. “I’ve never really seen him fight anybody. I’ve pretty much only really seen him fight himself.”
Another resident was stunned by news of Cooper’s arrest.
“I don’t know why he would have an irrational decision of shooting somebody three times and then running out and jacking a car and then going toward Greenwood and wrecking it,” said Ammon Sturgeon.
A woman told police that a gunman matching Cooper’s description ran out of the store after the killing and stole her vehicle while apologizing, “I’m very sorry. I need your car.”
Miles away, a police pursuit ended with a crash and a short foot chase before Cooper was arrested.
After two nights in the hospital, Cooper was transferred to police custody as detectives prepared to interview him.
Surrounded by family, Castro’s widow told FOX59 that she was stunned by the murder of her husband who she described as a tranquil, responsible man.
She said it was, “not fair,” that such a “good man” should be killed.