VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Wednesday was the first day for a trial for the wrongful death lawsuit of 28-year-old India Kager, who was killed in September of 2015 during a shootout with Virginia Beach police.
The lawsuit was originally filed by some of Kager’s family members against the City of Virginia Beach back in March of 2017.
“This is about someone who died and didn’t have to die” explained the plaintiff’s attorney in his opening statement.
Kager had pulled into a 7-Eleven parking lot off of Lynnhaven Parkway when the shooting happened.
Virginia Beach officers were looking for a man who was in her passenger seat.
Police say that man, Angelo Perry, opened fire first.
During opening statements, the plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin Martingayle, said “Kager was not a suspect, but her protection and life were not considered”.
On the other hand, in the defense attorney’s opening statement, he explained the officers didn’t know if Kager was or wasn’t a threat.
He said they had no idea there was a baby in the back of the car until they heard crying after the shootout.
During their testimonies, multiple officers admitted to hearing that there may have been a third person in the car over their surveillance radio.
The officers all agreed on the stand that had they been able to confirm a child was in the car, they would have approached the situation differently.
The defense attorney also made points to say that Perry was wanted in connection with four local murders.
He explained that a confidential informant told them Perry was headed to Virginia Beach to kill a man for the local drug dealers, the Goffigans.
He explained they were tracking him through his cell phone from Maryland to Virginia Beach that night.
The attorney says police were aware Perry had a gun on his right hip while in the car.
During Wednesday’s trial it was revealed that the vehicle takedown procedure wasn’t executed as expected.
The four officers said the SWAT van hit the back of Kager’s vehicle harder than they expected, so the tactical team went flying forward, putting them a few seconds behind in their plan.
They also said they later realized the flash bang had been thrown to the passenger’s side of the car, instead of the driver’s side.
The defense attorney says the gun that was taken from Perry was ultimately connected to all four murders, and that Kager ended up getting shot seven times.
India Kager’s father, Richard Kager, was last to take the stand on Wednesday.
“My daughter was the kindest and gentlest soul you’d ever run across,” he said as he reached for the tissues.
Richard says she was an excellent mother to her two children.
He said he’d met Perry the afternoon before the shoot out, and had a bad feeling about him.
Day two of the trial continues on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
It’s a story 10 On Your Side will continue to follow.