Court docs give new details about moments before fatal shooting

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (IUSTV News) — The man charged with murder for Tuesday’s fatal shooting in Bloomington claims he shot through the windshield of his van at another man because he was “defending himself and his property,” according to newly filed court documents.

Bloomington Police arrested 56-year-old Scott Cooper Tuesday morning after officers were called to the Belle Tire parking lot on Liberty Drive on the west side just after 6 a.m.

A woman reported seeing what she thought was a dead body while she was walking into work and asked a coworker for help to see if the man was alive.

Court documents say when police arrived, they quickly located Cooper in a blue van in the parking lot with an apparent bullet hole in the windshield , and the victim was dead in front of the van with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Cooper was taken to the Bloomington Police Department for an interview, where investigators learned he was unhoused and was living in his van.

Investigators say Cooper told them he had parked in the parking lot at around 5 p.m. the day before the shooting, and that there were other people staying there as well. Court documents say Cooper said the victim had parked his white pickup truck nearby sometime around 2:30 a.m.

According to court documents, investigators then asked Cooper if he had gotten into an arguement with someone over night, and Cooper reportedly said that he couldn’t say because “it was a national security secret.” When asked what he meant, Cooper reportedly said that “those people were supposed to be protected because they were on federal property.”

Court documents say Cooper is on several different medications.

Investigators then began to push for why he shot the gun. According to court documents, Cooper said that people outside his van were engaged in “shanwing,” which he described as an anal sex act. However, Cooper reportedly said that he couldn’t see what the people were doing, but that he “could smell poop,” and that they could have “been taking a ‘dump’ for all he knew.”

The victim reportedly was in and around Cooper’s van right before the shooting. Cooper allegedly told investigators that the victim wasn’t supposed to be in the parking lot and that he had told the man to leave.

Cooper reportedly told investigators that he then took a gun out of a box, that he said he found in the dumpster at Aldi’s roughly two months prior, and used the laser attachment to intimidate the victim.

When the victim didn’t leave, Cooper said that he shot through the windshield with his left hand but did not see what happened after the shooting. Court documents say Cooper admitted to asking if the man was okay and said “Im sorry,” but that the victim was “doped up,” and said he was fine.

Scott reportedly then went back to sleep, waking up roughly an hour later and asked the victim a second time if he was okay, but never got out of his van. Cooper said that it was likely four hours after the shooting that police arrived to the crime scene.

Court documents say that Cooper claimed that, in the past, his van had been damaged or items were stolen, and he was threatened by the man circling his van.

“[I’m] tired of this sh*t,” Cooper reportedly told investigators. “[I’m] the president’s president. [I’ve] been in this town for over 40 years.”

According to court documents, police were granted search warrants for Cooper’s van, the victim’s truck, as well as surveillance video from the area.

When investigators searched Scott’s van, they reportedly found a black safe that had a .380 caliber gun that had a laser attachment. Outside the van, police reportedly found a fired .380 cartridge near a curb where Cooper’s van was parked.

He was then taken to the Monroe County Jail and booked on a charge of murder, a felony.

According to online court records, Cooper had his initial hearing Thursday, where he entered a not-guilty plea. He is due back in court on June 18, and will remain in jail until trial.

Murder is the most severe criminal charge in Indiana. According to Indiana sentencing guidelines, a person convicted of murder could be sentenced anywhere from 45 years to life in prison, or death.

This is the third murder since December in which the victim and suspect are experiencing homelessness.

In December, police arrested 42-year-old Craig Pearson after police found a man with injuries “consistent with being cut and/or struck by a sharp object,” in a wooded area behind Wheeler Mission. The victim was identified as 31-year-old Shaquille Phillips.

Pearson was arrested and charged with murder a short time later. He is currently being held in the Monroe County Jail and has a hearing set for June 3.

In January, police arrested and charged 41-year-old Evelynn Kuuleilehaunani with murder nearly two weeks after 52-year-old Curtis Butler was found shot to death at a homeless encampment near the Wheeler Mission.

BPD says that witnesses told investigators that Kuuleilehaunani and Butler had been in a relationship.

On the day of the shooting, the pair were reportedly arguing outside of Butler’s tent, and witnesses told police Kuuleilehaunani had a gun.

Police say she allegedly held up the gun and fired a single round into the air, before lowering the gun and shooting into the tent.

Kuuleilehaunani then reportedly gathered her things and left the area.

She is currently being held in the Monroe County Jail and has a hearing set for May 14.