Spring Creek neighbors recount details of fatal shooting


Spring Creek resident George Huntley will never forget what he saw out of his kitchen window at 8 a.m. July 27.

He said he looked up when he heard what sounded like firecrackers, witnessed his neighbor get shot and watched as an officer — armed with what appeared to be an assault rifle — ran after the suspect through his backyard.

Huntley said he soon heard police command the suspect to drop his weapon, then heard shots from two different firearms. He said it sounded as if a gun was fired first, followed by a rifle.

Huntley had witnessed an incident that began in the 14300 block of Riverrock Court with the shooting of two victims and ended on the other side of the neighborhood with the death of the suspect. Police responded to the scene after receiving a call about a person threatening suicide, but by the time they arrived, Taylor Leigh Cox, 28, and her 66-year-old mother, whose name police have not released, had been shot.

Cox, a 2011 graduate of Carmel High School, did not survive the shooting. Her mother was treated for her injuries at the hospital and was released.

Police said the suspect, Julio Cesar Virula, 26, died of a gunshot wound during an altercation with officers. CPD said an officer fired a gun during the altercation but did not confirm whether a bullet from the officer’s firearm is what led to Virula’s death. The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy, but results were not available as of press time. Police said the full investigation will take weeks.

“We are working with our investigators to determine what more we can safely release without impeding the investigation. We obviously want to ensure this is done effectively as well as efficiently,” CPD spokesman Sgt. D.J. Schoeff stated in an email. “The diligence of our investigators completing a thorough and professional investigation is paramount. Sometimes this takes quite some time to complete.”

Huntley said he is heartbroken for his neighbors and thankful for the quick action by Carmel police.

“What (CPD) did that day was truly remarkable, and it was their job,” Huntley said. “They did it exceptionally well from my viewpoint of what happened.”

Spring Creek resident Will Ellery narrowly missed the end of the incident. He said he heard loud blasts as he headed outside to the recycle bin with his 9-year-old daughter. He saw a body lying on the sidewalk about five houses away and for an instant wondered if the person had suffered a heart attack and whether he should go help.

But he soon saw and heard law enforcement officers and realized something quite different had happened.

“In that millisecond I realized, with my daughter standing there, this is not somebody who had a problem. This is a police issue,” he said.

Ellery said the neighborhood held a meeting the night after the incident with the CPD chaplain and a local pastor to discuss how to process the event as a community.

“What’s interesting is this happened during this time of COVID where everybody has been much more close-knit,” Ellery said, adding that neighbors have been spending more time outdoors and walking around the neighborhood in recent months.

Ellery said neighbors are working together to determine how they can support the victim’s mother as she processes the trauma. He said Virula did not live in the neighborhood.

Ellery, who noticed other neighbors outdoors nearby at the time of the shooting, said he is thankful that CPD officers put themselves in harm’s way “before this tragic event became far worse.”

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has information or evidence, such as video surveillance recordings, is asked to call CPD’s nonemergency number at 317-571-2580.