‘It’s mind boggling’ says acquaintance of accused Kroger killer

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Update: The coroner identified the victim as 43-year-old Carlos Castro.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The last time Ammon Sturgeon saw Jason Cooper was three days ago when the convicted sex offender asked to pitch a tent in Strugeon’s backyard so that he would have an address to list on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry.

“He seemed like he was down like he was not in a good place,” said Sturgeon. “He used to have knives but he’s never had a gun.”

Metro homicide detectives said Cooper was armed with at least a knife when he attacked a man inside a south side Kroger store Friday night as gunshots were fired and the 43-year-old victim was killed before his assailant ran out of the store and carjacked a woman’s vehicle on his way to crashing and being arrested in Greenwood.

“I noticed he didn’t have a shopping cart or had any groceries and he was on his cell phone, a lot of (cursing) language,” said a woman who spotted a man dressed like Cooper coming down the aisle at the Southern Plaza grocery store, “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.”

The woman told CBS4 that she saw the man turn the corner onto the next aisle and the dispute and gunfire were so sudden she doubts if the attacker and the victim had time to talk.

“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,” she said. “I think the guy was on something.”

That supposition would not surprise those who know Cooper and were aware of his sex offender status after he pleaded guilty in 2003 to sexual misconduct with a minor.

“I could see that happen what happened last night. He’s just a very angry man,” said Douglas McLean. “The violent Jason, the angry Jason, the messed up Jason, yeah, that is the characteristic of his intoxication. He gets paranoid, he gets angry. ‘F’ bombs, pretty much cussing like a sailor, and if you anger him, he’ll threaten you.

“I’ve only seen him do methamphetamines and pot a couple times.

“He starts kind of unfolding his paranoia and unfolding his conspiracy theories and if you lay your phone down he will probably take it and see the picture in your phone and thinks somehow that’s his girlfriend or somebody he knows and you’re trying to do something.

“He really did have a lot of issues with the drug and it’s unfortunate he let the drug take control of him.”

Police have found no evidence to indicate Cooper knew his alleged victim.

The dead man’s name has not yet been released.

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