Court docs: Teen charged in man’s death says he fired because he feared ‘serious harm’

Cedric Cooper

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Marion County Prosecutor’s office filed charges Monday against a teenager accused of killing a man at a northwest side grocery store last Saturday night.

Cedrec Cooper, 19, faces one felony count of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Steven Wills. The shooting took place on March 24 shortly after 8 p.m. in the parking lot of a Meijer store in the 5300 block of West Pike Plaza Road.

Witnesses told police they saw Wills punching Cooper before the 19-year-old fired his weapon. Court documents show Wills had put Cooper in a headlock and the two were wrestling around before Cooper pulled his gun and shot Wills once. One witness said after Wills was on the ground, Cooper stood over him and shot him once more.

Another witness reported hearing three gunshots in quick succession after hearing a female saying, “Don’t you pop him!”

When police arrived on the scene, court documents show Cooper surrendered by putting his hands in the air and saying, “It’s me, it’s me.”

Cooper told police he warned Wills that he was armed, but Wills wouldn’t stop hitting him. He said Wills was much stronger than him and he fired because he was afraid Wills would seriously harm him.

“I mean if I wouldn’t have shot him he would’ve probably continued to beat me up,” Cooper told investigators.

Cooper admitted to firing his gun three times. Court documents show officers did not observe any injuries to Cooper’s body.

Witness accounts provided to FOX59 indicated Cooper was being stalked by Wills and acted in self-defense.

Wills’ brother told investigators Cooper tried to rob his victim three weeks ago during a marijuana deal. Wills was a resident of the Volunteers of America Offender Transitional Housing Center while serving probation for a 2006 cocaine conspiracy conviction.

Cooper will be represented in court by notable Indianapolis attorney David Hennessy, who recently represented Richard Grundy III.