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Carmel police release bodycam video, 911 call audio from officer-involved shooting

Fatal incident in July
Posted at 1:05 PM, Oct 06, 2020

CARMEL — The Carmel Police Department has released body camera footage and 911 call audio related to a fatal July 27 officer-involved shooting.

The department also released the officer's name Tuesday and said an internal investigation found he acted within department policy. The officer, Shane VanNatter, is a 13-year veteran with the department and assigned to CPD's School Resource Unit.

The body camera footage does not show the shooting because the camera fell off VanNatter while he chased the suspect. VanNatter could be heard telling the suspect to drop his gun before multiple shots were fired.

Lt. James Semester said VanNatter fatally shot Julio Caesar Virula, 26, during a foot chase after Virula allegedly killed Taylor Leigh Cox, 28, and wounded Cox's 66-year-old mother.

“The internal investigation determines that the officer’s actions met the high standards we hold for all our employees and to ensure that officers acted in accordance with department policy," Chief Jim Barlow said. "This investigation found that Officer VanNatter acted within policy. Officer VanNatter’s quick and decisive actions undoubtedly saved lives.”

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Shortly after 8 a.m., dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman reporting her daughter's boyfriend was suicidal and armed with a gun.

The 911 caller and Cox were outside a home on Riverrock Court with Virula at the time of the call, Semester said in a video.

During the call, Virula took the 911 caller's phone from her, which left an open line. Semester said Virula shot Cox multiple times and the 911 caller twice.

Semester said the 911 caller fled to seek help. Virula then returned to Cox, who was wounded and lying in the yard, and shot her several more times at close range, killing her.

Warning: This video contains graphic images and language.

Several 911 callers told dispatchers they saw Virula hiding in tall grass near a retention pond on Riverrock Court and that he placed a gun in his pants, Semester said.

Semester said VanNatter saw Virula and chased him toward Rippling Brook Way. During the chase, Semester said VanNatter's rifle struck his body camera, which caused it to rotate. As VanNatter's ran, the body camera fell to the ground, but continued to record sound of the incident.

The video summary released by Carmel police included audio of the shooting and an illustration of VanNatter's movement. Semester said Virula pulled a gun from his pants and turned toward VanNatter. On the video, VanNatter can be heard telling Virula to drop his gun before multiple shots were fired.

"Officer VanNatter ordered Mr. Virula to drop the gun. Mr. Virula did not comply. Officer VanNatter shot Mr. Virula, which ended the threat. Officer VanNatter and Mr. Virula were both moving at the time of the shooting," Semester said.

Neither VanNatter nor any other officers or residents were injured in the incident, Semester said. Virula was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police found a loaded handgun several feet from where Virula lay and an additional magazine in his front pants pocket, Semester said. Police determined ammunition found by Virula matched what was used on Riverrock Court.

“Detectives determined that Mr. Virula had reloaded his gun after killing Miss Cox and wounding the original 911 caller," Semester said. "This is a clear indication that Mr. Virula intended to inflict more harm on others, the extent of which we will never know.”