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PC: Jason Cooper demanded Kroger murder victim's cellphone, then shot him with his own gun

Posted at 5:03 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 19:50:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The suspect accused of killing a man inside a south side Kroger stabbed his victim three times and shot him twice with his own gun after he refused to give up his cellphone, according to formal charges filed Tuesday.

Jason Neal Cooper, 37, was arrested Friday after leading police on a chase from the Kroger at 4202 S. East Street – where, investigators say, he had just killed 43-year-old Carlos Castro.

First responders arrived to find another customer performing CPR on Castro, who was suffering from multiple apparent gunshot and stab wounds.

Medics declared him dead at the scene a short time later.

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Meanwhile, police say Cooper was leading them on a high-speed chase that ended near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Stop 12 Road – where Cooper crashed into two unoccupied vehicles in the Hubler Nissan dealership lot.

While officers were escorting Cooper in handcuffs back to a police vehicle, they reported he continued to yell, “I did the right thing. I did the right thing,” over and over.

Police said Cooper had dried blood on his hands and clothing. A black hand gun with blood on it was also reportedly found in the back of the car he’d been driving.

On Tuesday, Marion County prosecutors filed formal charges of murder, robbery, armed robbery and resisting arrest against Cooper. A probable cause affidavit detailing the justification for the charges offered new information about the moments just before Castro’s death.

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According to the affidavit, a witness told police she saw Cooper telling Castro repeatedly to give him his phone.

When Castro refused, the witness said she saw Cooper pull out a knife and stab Castro in the throat. Before she fled to the back of the store, the witness said she saw Cooper shoot Castro once, then place his foot on his chest and shoot him again.

Another witness told police she saw a man, believed to be Cooper, tossing a cardboard package at the end of an aisle shortly before the attack. Crime scene investigators later found the packaging and determined it was for the same kind of kitchen knife found by Castro’s body.

After the attack, witnesses told police Cooper ran outside, where he allegedly fired his gun into the air before running up to a car pulling out of a handicap spot and demanding the driver get out, saying, “I’m sorry ma’am, I need your car now!”

Cooper allegedly later told police he didn’t want to hurt the lady in the car because “she was nice.”

According to the affidavit, Cooper appeared nervous and twitchy and was “speaking fast and unable to focus on one topic” when he was arrested.

A SWAT medic who checked out Cooper said the man continued to make unsolicited comments about the attack, despite the medic repeatedly telling him he was only concerned about his medical issues.

According to the medic, Cooper told him, “I didn’t want to shoot the guy, but he pointed the gun at me, so I got a knife and stabbed him.” Another officer reported that Cooper told him, “Sometimes you can look at someone and know what they’re thinking. So when he made a move, I stuck him with the knife.”

Investigators believe Castro was shot with his own gun. Police said family members confirmed that Castro regularly carried a 9mm – the same caliber of gun found in the back of the car Cooper was driving.

An autopsy determined Castro had been shot in the head and left flank, and had been stabbed in the chest, the neck and in the left side. The examiner determined both gunshots and the stab wound to the chest would have been lethal.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Cooper was being held at the Marion County Jail without bond. An initial hearing was scheduled for Wednesday morning in Marion County Criminal Court 5.

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