Good Samaritan Who Tried to Save Newlywed Nathan Trapuzzano, 24, Who Was Shot on His Morning Walk Claims Attack Was Part of a Senseless Gang Initiation
Will Payne, Daily Mail (London), April 6, 2014
A Good Samaritan who desperately tried to save a young newly wed after he was gunned down has relived his dying moments and revealed she thinks the seemingly senseless killing was a gang initiation.
Devoted Catholic Nathan 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 of two men 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.
Currently officers say the motive is unclear, but the young woman who tried to save Nathan thinks it may have been a brutal gang initiation, a view backed up by some of his friends and his uncle Arthur Barnes.
His killers stripped him of his sneakers, sweater and t-shirt leading some to speculate that they may have taken them as trophies, although unconfirmed reports suggest the clothes might have been found dumped in the parking lot.
The Samaritan was alerted to Tuesday’s 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.
‘I’ve heard some people say it may have been some kind of gang initiation. It doesn’t look like a robbery as he didn’t have anything with him, so that could be right.
‘If you watch the video it looks like they stalked him and then forced him into a specific place where they wanted him to be. It doesn’t sound like a robbery to me.
‘I honestly thought they would have caught someone by now. I think whoever did this must be from around here.
‘This area is getting worse and worse, there have been so many crazy things happen recently. A few months ago I saw a guy get shot over the road. I just hope they catch these people.’
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.
Hundreds of mourners attended his Roman Catholic funeral yesterday, 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 yesterday 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’.’
He added: ‘In my opinion his murder was some kind of gang initiation. I live in Michigan, so I don’t know what the gang situation is like round here, but that is what it sounds like. He didn’t have anything to steal, so it doesn’t seem like a robbery.
‘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.’
Police are determined to catch Nathan’s killers and they released the chilling security footage in the hope that a witness might come forward.
The images were shot from a local tire shop. Manager Jesse Jesusgarcia–who says he saw Nathan take an evening walk everyday at around 6pm–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.’
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.’
The officer leading the investigation into his murder, Commander David Hoffman told 6ABC: ‘He had his whole life in front of him, never been in trouble before, never been a problem, was minding his own business, doing what anybody in our community should be able to do and that is to take a morning walk.’