Mother Dead Following Police-Involved Gunfight

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Virginia police officers reportedly shot 30 rounds into a vehicle with a baby boy inside during a gunfight in a convenience store parking lot on Saturday.

Police officers in Virginia Beach were reportedly shooting at Angelo Perry, 35, who was inside the vehicle with a woman and her baby boy, Roman. Perry, who was allegedly shooting back at the officers at the time, was killed during the incident. The woman in the vehicle, 28-year-old Navy veteran India Kager, was also killed, The Washington Post reported.

Kager’s mother said her daughter and Perry were romantically involved, but Kager had Roman with her ex-husband, according to WJLA. The child was unharmed. The child is 6 months old, according to The Washington Post. However, WJLA reported his age at 4 months.

Police Chief Jim Cervera of Virginia Beach, Virginia, said at a news conference on Tuesday that it was just 15 seconds between the time officers pulled the couple over to the end of the shooting.

Officers were doing surveillance on Perry, who was a person of interest in a homicide, Cervera added.

“We knew that he was heavily armed. We did have credible information that he was going to commit a violent act in our city,” Cervera said.

Court records show Perry was recently released from prison after serving 12 years for a malicious-wounding charge for shooting someone in the back, WJLA reported. He was also charged with assaulting a police officer in 2000.

Police were reportedly unaware of the infant’s presence, and all four officers have been put on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident.

On Saturday, police saw Perry and Kager in the car, with Kager driving erratically, according to Cervera. When Kager pulled into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, the officers -- wearing ballistic vests with the word "police" on them -- approached the vehicle. Perry shot at them immediately, which led to the fatal shootout.

Kager’s mother, Gina N. Best, said she doesn’t believe her daughter wasn’t involved in a criminal investigation.

“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?"

Best expressed her worries about how police will handle the investigation into her daughter's death.

"My greatest fear is it will be doctored ... to make India seem like she's part of dark behavior. India was not of that element," Best said during an interview with WJLA.  "Her upbringing, everything about my daughter -- she walked the straight and narrow. She was a wonderful person.”

“Virginia Beach Police Department and our officers believe in the sanctity of life," Cervera said. "We do everything we can to mitigate violent conflict.”

Sources: The Washington Post, WJLA

Photo Credit: Krager family/WJLA, Department of Corrections/WAVY