Will Payne and Helen Pow, Daily Mail (London), April 8, 2014
A 16-year-old was today arrested and charged over the murder of Nathan Trapuzzano, the newlywed who was shot dead as he took a morning walk.
Simeon Adams, known by the nickname ‘Red’, is alleged to have confessed to a friend that he shot Nathan once in the stomach–after the newlywed, who was expecting his first child, reached down to his shoes as Adams made him strip during the robbery.
Adams’ friend Marvell Robinson told detectives he was woken up by the alleged shooter on the morning of April 1 at his home in Indianapolis. Adams told him: ‘Man the police is out here and they are looking for me.’
Robinson told detectives Adams made Nathan strip, according to the court papers. ‘When he told Nathan to take his pants off the victim started reaching for his shoes and Simeon asked him (Nathan) “Why you reaching for your shoes?”. Simeon said the “white man tried to tussle with me so I shot him”‘.
Nathan, a 24-year-old software engineer had been out for a morning walk at around 5am, when Adams and accomplice Martez ‘Duh-Duh’ McGraw allegedly targeted him.
It was also revealed today that Adams is accused of shooting a man outside Baba’s Steak and Lemonade eatery two nights before. Erick Douglas was there with his brother when he bumped into ‘Red’ as he got out of his car.
They exchanged words and Adams is alleged to have fired three shots into Douglas. Two hit him–one in the groin and one in the left leg.
Then Adams was himself shot in the neck and was taken to hospital in a serious condition at 11.30pm on the day he is alleged to have murdered Nathan.
Adams has been charged with murder, attempted robbery and carrying a handgun without a license in relation to Nathan’s death.
He has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and carrying a handgun without a license following the earlier shooting of Douglas.
Despite locals initially stating that they thought Nathan’s killing was a gang initiation, police now believe it to be an attempted robbery.
Officials announced Tuesday afternoon that Adams, who lives with his aunt, uncle and cousins, will be tried as an adult over the killing.
Indianapolis police said Adams’ clothes match up with the clothing the shooter was wearing in video footage from the night of the murder.
An acquaintance of Adams told detectives that he believes the alleged killer stole the gun during a raid on a firearms store in Clermont, Indiana.
Detectives believe they have a preliminary match with the gun used to kill Nathan and that used to shoot Douglas. According to court papers Douglas picked out Adams, who has previously been arrested for handgun violations, marijuana possession, theft, auto theft, burglary and resisting arrest, as his assailant from mugshots.
Tuesday night at Adams’ family home, his uncle Al carter said he did not believe his nephew was capable of such a horrific crime.
The alleged killer’s mother died when he was around one-year-old and although he knows his father he has never lived with him.
His family also revealed he has been sent to juvenile detention centre on a number of occasions and he had recently been arrested after police found a gun in a car he was travelling in. Mr Carter said the gun wasn’t his.
Mr Carter–who helped raise Adams after his mother died–said: ‘He used to get in trouble, but I didn’t think he was capable of this. I used to try to tell him not to hang with the wrong people and to stay on the right path. He listened to me. I would try to keep him in line and make him do his chores. If I told him to do something he would do it.
‘When his friends came over and sat on the porch I would speak to his friends and tell them that if they didn’t get themselves together they would end up dead or in jail. I told them they needed to change the way they were living and think on it. They would always agree with me.
‘I can’t believe he would get involved in something like this. I saw him in the hospital after he got shot and he didn’t say anything about it.
‘I’m not going to lie, he has been to juvy, his record is there for everyone to see, but never for anything violent. I didn’t ever hear about anything like that. He used to be a good footballer, but he stopped playing about two years ago. He was just a normal teenager.
‘I’m just feeling messed up by this whole scenario.’
Trapuzzano, a 24-year-old software engineer expecting his first child, was fatally shot in the 3500 block of West 16th Street just before 6am.
Trapuzzano was shot while he was out on his regular, early morning stroll just a few hundred yards from the home where he lived with his pregnant wife Jennifer–who is due to give birth to a baby girl next month.
Indianapolis police have released chilling security footage that they claim shows ‘Red’ and ‘Duh-Duh’ following the beloved 24-year-old, before one of them ushers him off camera into a parking lot while the other stands in the street acting as a lookout.
Moments later Nathan–who always clutched his rosary beads in his hand during his dawn walks and used the time as an opportunity to pray–was shot in his side and his attackers fled.
His killers allegedly stripped him of his sweater and t-shirt before he reached down to his shoes when Adams shot him.
A Good Samaritan who revealed her desperate attempts to help Nathan in his last moments was alerted to the attack when she heard a gunshot at around 5.50am, looked out of her window and saw Nathan stagger from the parking lot desperately screaming, ‘help, help, help’ before collapsing face first.
She called the police and paramedics immediately then rushed out with a towel to see if she could stop the bleeding and save the dedicated pro-life campaigner.
Describing the heart-wrenching scene the woman–who wants to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals–told MailOnline: ‘I heard a shot, but at first I didn’t pay too much attention because there are shots all the time round here.
‘But then I heard someone yelling, ‘help, help’ help!’ so I looked out of the window and saw him stumbling around. He was shouting very loud because he was fighting for his life and trying his hardest to save himself.
‘I got on the phone to the ambulance, but then I saw him collapse and I didn’t know what to do. The operator said I could go over to him if I wanted to. I was scared, but I wanted to do something, so I took a towel in case I needed to apply pressure to the wound.
‘I got over there and he had been stripped of his shirt and his shoes. He was just wearing jogging bottoms. It was really strange, because there wasn’t much blood. He was conscious, but I think he was in shock, because he was struggling for breath.
‘It was just a small bullet wound. He was lying on his side and at first I couldn’t see it. I didn’t want to move him. The paramedics arrived in five-and-a-half minutes.
‘When I was running over I saw him drop something in the parking lot. I told the police and they got it, but I don’t know what it was. It might have been clothing.
‘I talked to his mom a couple of days ago, she called me and said the most he would ever have with him on his walks in an old MP3 player and some headphones. She also asked me if he had his rosary beads, but I didn’t see them.’
Paramedics battled to save Nathan at the scene on the west side of Indianapolis for around five minutes, before taking him to hospital. He was rushed in for emergency surgery immediately, but could not be saved and died a few hours later.
The chilling images of Nathan’s last moments were shot from a local tire shop. Manager Jesse Jesusgarcia explained that police have only released the first part of the tape.
The second half shows Nathan stumble in front of the store, waving for help in an attempt to flag down passing motorists. He then collapses face first banging his head on the floor.
Mr Jesusgarcia, said the pictures sent a shiver down his spine. He told MailOnline: ‘You see him come from behind the store, stumbling and waving, then he falls over. The next thing you see is the girl running over to him. Then the paramedics turned up. It is all there on camera.
‘When I saw it I had goosebumps all over. It is horrible. He had no shirt on, because they stripped him. I don’t know if they were doing it to see if he had any money hidden away.
‘I used to see him everyday. He was a nice man who kept himself to himself. He didn’t ever really carry anything with him. Sometimes he had a bag, but I didn’t even ever see him with headphones on.
‘The thing that upset me is that when he was waving, nobody stopped to help him. In this neighborhood we should all look out for each other.
‘Some of his friends have put up a little shrine outside my shop. I just want to help in anyway I can.’
Hundreds of mourners attended his Roman Catholic funeral last Saturday, where his priest Rev Christopher Roberts told the tearful congregation that they should forgive Nathan’s killers, adding: ‘I have no doubt that Nathan forgave his murderers. That was the type of man that I knew him to be.’
In an earlier statement the priest said the murderers had taken ‘the life of one of the best young men I have ever known’.
The idea that Nathan would have found it in his heart to forgive was backed up by his sister Shayne who told TV station WTHR: ‘There’s a lot of anger, but I can tell you, Nate wouldn’t be angry.’
But despite that sentiment, his devastated widow Jennifer, 25, was inconsolable and wailed in agony at several points during the two hour service. The pair married less than a year ago and had already named their unborn baby Cecilia.
Nathan’s maternal uncle Arthur Barnes described how Jennifer was so distraught on Friday night during visitation of the body that she stayed for an extra hour just stroking her late husband’s hair.
Speaking to MailOnline from the scene of the crime, which was visited by several family members following Saturday’s funeral, he said: ‘She is devastated. When I arrived at the funeral home last night I was already late because I had driven from Michigan, but Jenn was still sitting there at the head of the coffin, just stroking his hair. They couldn’t get her away, she just kept crying.
‘Nathan is my sister’s son and they were incredibly close. They always went to church together.
‘He had two brothers, one older and one younger, but they both looked up to him. They gave toasts at his wedding last year and Matthew his elder brother said, ‘you may be younger than me, but I look up to you’.’
‘On the video you can see him raise his hands, I’m sure he would have told them, ‘I don’t have anything’.
‘He only moved here from Pennsylvania recently and I think the house they were living in belonged to his father-in-law. It is all such a tragedy.’
Since the slaying, some of software-designer Nathan’s friends have set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for funeral costs and contribute to his unborn daughter’s upbringing.
So far more than $140,000 has been raised. His former school has also said it will grant a full two-year scholarship to little Cecilia in Nathan’s honor. He had studied Classics at university, but taught himself his computer skills.
‘The Ivy Tech Community College family is shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of one of our own, Nathan Trapuzzano, a young and bright software engineer at the college,’ a statement read.
His traumatized family released their own statement on Wednesday, saying: ‘[Nathan] was so in love with his wife Jennifer, and unborn baby daughter, Cecelia. He was so excited about being a new Daddy.
‘Nathan Trapuzzano was the most kind-hearted person you would ever know. He never had an unkind thought in his head . . . The loss of this very, very special young man has been such a shock to our entire family.’