GREENWOOD, Ind. — The Greenwood Police Department is investigating its first homicide of 2022, and the first in all of Johnson County since December of 2020.
The Johnson County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim as 35-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Cooke of Greenwood.
An autopsy performed Friday morning found Cooke died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the coroner’s office. Her death was ruled a homicide.
“The people of this community do not tolerate this type of crime. Which is why we had great witnesses coming forward, seeking us out as soon as the officers got there,” said Matthew Fillenwarth, Assistant Chief of Police with the Greenwood Police Department.
Greenwood police were called to the 600 block of Nicklaus Drive around 5 p.m. Thursday in response to reports of shots fired.
According to the Greenwood Police Department, witnesses provided investigators with a detailed description of a man seen leaving Cooke’s apartment and driving away.
“[Witnesses] were able to give us a very detailed description of him, what he was wearing, what he was driving,” said Fillenwarth. “Very early on in that investigation, he was our primary suspect.”
Interviews with Cooke’s friends provided police with the man’s identity. Police aren’t revealing the suspect’s name at this time, describing him as a 35-year-old Franklin resident who’d been in a romantic relationship with Cooke. Both worked at the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center, police said.
Police said the pair met at Cooke’s apartment around 4:30 p.m. Thursday after Cooke returned home from work. Multiple gunshots were reported shortly after that, and the man was seen leaving the area.
Greenwood Police said, with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, the suspect was found on I-65 headed south in Kentucky. Kentucky State Police were notified, and state troopers initiated a traffic stop just outside of Bowling Green.
Fillenwarth said the suspect initially complied and pulled his car to a stop at Exit 30. After pulling over, police said the suspect then shot himself with a handgun and was pronounced dead on the scene.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years and it still never makes sense,” said Fillenwarth. “The tragedy that was created by one person.”
Police said the suspect’s name is being withheld pending notification of family. The shooting remains under investigation.
“I love it here. I mean I feel like it was kind of something random and bizarre that happened,” said Aubrey Bowser, a neighbor who lives in the same apartment complex.
She said most of the neighbors she’s seen since moving to the complex in February have been friendly and welcoming.
“We’ll see people walking outside and wave,” said Bowser. “Our dog is a little star here. Everybody loves her. So we’ve met quite a few people.”
Fillenwarth said investigators still need to piece together what led up to the shooting. He said this case remains active and anyone with information is asked to contact the Greenwood Police Department.