India Kager: Cops empty 30 rounds into car Navy vet was in along with her 4-month-old son
India Kager of College Park, Maryland was a 28-year-old mother of two who had served her country faithfully in the armed forces. In the military, service members learn when to shoot and how to shoot. So it is highly ironic that Kager would lose her life at the hands of officers who have come under scrutiny for shooting her when they didn't have to.
In fact, Kager was not the intended target on that fateful night outside a 7-Eleven in Virginia Beach, Virginia, according to Virginia Beach police, when four officers fired 30 rounds into a vehicle she was riding in with a man named Angelo Perry. And while the Angelo means angel, we are sure that Angelo was no angel. In fact law enforcement painted him as a career-long criminal and hitman. Perry, the father of the couple's four-month-old son, was behind the wheel, when officers approached and a gun fight occurred. The baby, Roman, was not hit, fortunately. Kager was fatally shot, as was Perry.
Officers are adamant that Perry was poised to commit a violent crime if officers hadn't have approached him that Saturday night, September 5, 2015. Police say it was Perry who fired first at them, and a bullet grazed one of the officers, according to the police officers' version of events
Police video of the shooting shows officers running up to Perry's car and shooting. They say it fired four rounds, but from officers' disposition it is unlikely that they would expose themselves so closely to a car that has a gunman firing rounds at them.
Unfortunately this incident has no testimony from a neutral witness, other than what local media have been able to cull together.
"First there was a pop several problems and several pop pops right after that," Christian Patchin, who happened to be in proximity to the shooting, told WTKR. "My girlfriend asked me if they were having fireworks at the amphitheater. I said no that's not fireworks."
“He was a person of interest in a homicide case. And we did know that he was armed — we knew that he was heavily armed. We did have credible information that he was going to commit a violent act in our city,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cerver told reporters, speaking of Perry.
Kager's mother, Gina N. Best, a mortgage broker from Columbia, Marlyand, disputes the officers' narrative and questions why cops had to move on Perry while he was with Kager and their child.
“It was very clear to me that India was not part of the police investigation based on the responses I got from police. She had nothing to do with it. She was totally innocent,” Best told the Washington Post. “Did they find any weapons on India? Did she pose a threat? Why did [police] shoot into a car with a baby and woman who had nothing to do with their investigation?”
Police have said that they didn't know the child was in the backseat, but critics claim that they should have at least seen that Kager was in the front seat. That latter question is something that Virginia Beach police have never sufficiently answered.
"It was accidental. It was not intended, but they were right on top of each other as [Perry] was firing his weapon at the officers," Cervera said, according to WTKR-TV.
The officers were cleared in March 2016 in the shooting according to findings released by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, which said that Perry was responsible for the additional death of Kager. The findings shocked many civil rights advocates and those who monitor police shootings.
“It was Mr. Perry who chose to change the circumstances that night when he opened fired at police,” Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle told reporters, according to WAVY-TV.
But Kager's case has galvanized efforts to watch police officers more closely in the community. The shooting also helped usher in police reforms, such as cameras which must be worn by the officers when making an arrest.
Kager's mother continues to fight for justice for her daughter, and the two kids she has left behind.