VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The family of Donovon Lynch plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Virginia Beach by the end of the month, according to an attorney involved in the matter.
Lynch was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer on March 26 as police responded to multiple instances of gunfire at the Oceanfront. Multiple people were injured that night, and two died, including Lynch.
Stephen Lentz, with Anchor Legal Group PLLC, confirmed he has been retained to represent the Estate of Donovon Lynch.
He said that per Virginia law, if someone dies without a will, an administrator of the estate of the person who died can be appointed after 60 days have passed since the death occurred. Lentz said Donovon Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, is asking to be appointed. At that point, a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed.
Lentz said he does not yet know for what amount of money they will be asking for in damages.
Julie Hill, a spokeswoman with the city, confirmed a notice of claim to sue the city was properly filed.
The death of Lynch has sparked controversy and calls for answers about what happened.
Lynch, who is Virginia Beach music artist Pharrell Williams’ cousin, was shot in the 300 block of 20th Street as officers responded to multiple instances of gunfire at the Oceanfront.
Police have said Lynch brandished a firearm before he was shot.
His family has disputed that he brandished the gun and said he was legally allowed to carry.
Further, there’s no body camera footage from the incident. The body camera of the officer who fired his weapon wasn’t activated — although he did have a body camera at the time — and there’s no footage available from a plainclothes detective who also responded.
Virginia Beach purchased body camera technology that would allow to cameras to turn on when officers draw their gun from a holster, but the police chief has said it isn’t being utilized because of issues with current VBPD holsters.
Virginia State Police are the investigating agency for the officer-involved shooting.
“The Lynch family and the involved officer each deserve a comprehensive and thorough investigation into this incident, and we appreciate the public’s patience as we pursue every facet of it,” the police chief wrote in a statement several days after the shooting.
Several years ago, the family of a woman killed in the crossfire of an officer-involved shooting in 2015 also sued the city for wrongful death.
India Kager was shot and killed in September 2015 outside a gas station. She was shot after a man named Angelo Perry fired at officers, then officers shot back.
Kager’s 4-month-old child was also in the backseat of a vehicle. The child wasn’t injured.
The family and the city in 2018 agreed to a jury’s ruling that the city would pay $800,000 in damages to Kager’s family.