VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Virginia Beach says the fatal shooting of Donovon Lynch in the hands of a Virginia Beach Police officer in 2021 was justified.

In court documents released Tuesday, the City states that Lynch was “negligent” in contributing to his injury and death by entering an active shooting situation, crouching behind shrubbery and arming himself with a “lethal weapon.”

The City added that Lynch was under the influence of alcohol when he turned toward police officers with a loaded weapon, “holding the weapon in a threatening manner” before he was shot by police.

Read the City’s Full Response Here

The 25-year-old was shot and killed by Virginia Beach police officer Solomon Simmons III on March 26, 2021, a night that included numerous incidents of gun-related violence along the resort area. Lynch, a former offensive lineman for the University of Virginia College at Wise, and a cousin of musician Pharrell Williams, was one of two people killed during the shootings that night.

The shooting incidents also claimed the life of DeShayla Harris and injured nine other people.

Officer Simmons, following a grand jury investigation, was later cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation showed Lynch brandished a firearm.

Donovon’s father, Wayne Lynch, disputed this finding and sued the officer and the City of Virginia Beach in a $50-million wrongful death case.

The lawsuit says Simmons used excessive force and acted with gross negligence when he shot and killed Lynch. The lawsuit also says he failed to properly identify himself beforehand or give any warning before firing the shots, and didn’t render medical aid afterward.

Following the City’s statements, the Donovon-Wayne Lynch Foundation responded calling out the City for “shamelessly blaming” Lynch for his own death.

“They killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation,” said Wayne Lynch in a release Tuesday.

Lynch’s family refuted the City’s claim of Lynch being under the influence of alcohol stating that Lynch’s autopsy report showed his blood alcohol level was only 0.006 %, below Virginia’s legal limit of 0.08%.

Wayne Lynch doubled down and called the implication of Donovon being drunk a “low blow” and “an outrageous attempt to deflect on Officer Simmon’s mistakes” during the fatal shooting.

Wayne Lynch ended the statement vowing vindication and promising to hold the City and Officer Simmons accountable.

“We will get justice for Donovon.” 

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