Wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2019 shooting of 2 teenagers in Dayton garage

Wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2019 shooting of 2 teenagers in Dayton garage
Victor Santana

DAYTON — Victor Santana, who in August 2019 fatally shot two of three teenagers he told police he found in his garage, is accused of wrongfully causing the 17-year-old's death

Jimmy Harrison Sr., the father of Javier Harrison and administrator of his son's estate, filed the lawsuit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on April 28.

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Harrison, in the lawsuit. alleges that Javier and two friends had no weapons or pointed any weapon at Santana, 63, the night of the shooting on Aug. 28, 2019, at 838 Conners St. in Dayton.

The suit also alleges Santana was never in danger from Javier or his friends being in the dilapidated detached garage, described in the lawsuit as a location "regularly used by neighborhood residents as a place to socialize."

Santana went to the garage and shot Javier in the back, thigh, and arm as he attempted to flee. Javier and Devin Henderson, also 17, died at the scene. The third young man ran but later turned himself in.

The lawsuit alleges the shooting "amounted to negligent and/or reckless conduct" and "constituted a civil assault and/or battery resulting in death."

"Santana had a duty to retreat and contact law enforcement when he found Javier allegedly trespassing in the garage," according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks a jury trial and $125,000 in damages (an amount in excess of $25,000 plus costs on each of the five counts in the lawsuit: Wrongful death, survival Action, negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium and willful/wanton and malicious conduct.

Harrison also seeks judgment against the Ohio Department of Medicaid and asks the court determine if the estate is entitled to recover medical benefits paid on behalf of Javier.

Santana is charged with four counts of murder, five counts of felonious assault and one count of attempt to commit murder.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. has said the boys broke the law by trespassing, but lethal force cannot be used against people who are only committing that offense.

In March, Common Pleas Judge Timothy O’Connell ruled that prosecutors will be allowed to use Santana’s statements to Dayton homicide detectives.

Public defender Michael Pentecost had argued that interviews with Santana shouldn’t be used as evidence because a language barrier prevented him from understanding his rights or questions posed to him.

O’Connell said Santana speaks “a kind of broken English” but understood enough of the language to waive his Miranda rights before two interviews. O’Connell also said the defendant wasn’t forced into speaking with police.