‘They just don’t care’: Grieving mother blasts Virginia Beach politicians 12 days after her innocent daughter was fatally shot

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Renee Harris is in pain and she is exhausted.

Nearly two weeks after the death of her 28-year-old daughter Deshayla Harris, the Norfolk native missed the live televised coverage of the funeral held Monday for 25-year-old Donovon Lynch, who was killed in a police-involved shooting the same night in the same area.

Deshayla E. Harris

Lynch was killed by a police officer’s bullet and Deshayla, AKA “Shay,” was killed by what police said was a stray bullet during multiple shootings March 26 at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Renee Harris missed the coverage, but the nation did not.

Music icon Pharrell Williams, a Virginia Beach native who is Lynch’s cousin, took to the podium at Wave Church to shine a glaring light on Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer. Dyer met with members of the Lynch family eight days after the well-known former football player was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer.

“Forgive me, but it took our mayor a week to reach out to this family,” said a visibly emotional Williams during the ceremony for his cousin.

While Williams is critical of the eight-day-later response, the Harris family tells 10 On Your Side they have not heard from a single politician from Virginia Beach 12 days after Deshayla Harris, an innocent victim, was shot in the head by a single bullet.

Renee Harris said it makes her feel “angry. Just forgotten about. Like they just don’t care.”

Last week, 10 On Your Side shared the exclusive story of how an officer on the crime scene reportedly broke the news that Deshayla Harris was dead in a live Facetime video feed from the victim’s phone. Three days later, 10 On Your Side reached out to police to ask about the Facetime notification issue and so far, police have not responded to answer questions about whether the Facetime live call is in line with department policies and protocols.

Harris says four days after Deshayla Harris’ death a detective met with her to turn over Deshayla’s personal belongings, except for her cell phone that was used in the reported Facetime notification.

But the public has heard from the police chief. Days after the extreme violence, Chief Paul Neudigate told members of City Council, in a special session, the Lynch investigation has been turned over to State Police. The Lynch family, Williams included, raised questions about transparency after police issued a statement saying a firearm was found in the vicinity of where Lynch was killed. The statement was later expanded to say Lynch brandished a firearm.

Black Lives Matter 757 is calling for the immediate resignations of the mayor and the police chief.

Deshayla with Japharii Jones (Photo courtesy: Japharii Jones)

“Just tell us something. We literally have nothing right now. Donovon Lynch’s services were Monday, Deshayla Harris’ services are Friday. This was weeks ago. We still have the same amount of questions we had on the night in question. That is completely unacceptable,” said Japharii Jones of Black Lives Matter 757.

Coverage of Deshayla Harris’ death went national. She played the role of the Firecracker Fashionista in the reality TV show Bad Girls Club in 2017.

Black Lives Matter 757 leaders say they often console grieving loved ones who say the crimes that took their loved ones are investigated but authorities often show a lack of compassion.

“There are other mothers like her [Renee Harris] who have went through it [we are going] to connect them together one by one,” said Earl Lewis of Black Lives Matter 757.

“They don’t care at all because if they cared they would have at least came and knocked on the door, got in touch with me, sent some flowers or a card. I haven’t heard anything,” said Renee Harris.

Renee Harris with members of Black Lives Matter 757
(WAVY photo: Regina Mobley)

The Harris family has heard from the larger community. Because of contributions on GoFundMe and other sources, the family is able to pay for funeral services.

“She had a lot of people who loved her and we had a lot of people who cared about her so it’s getting done by God’s grace, it’s getting done,” said Harris.

Funeral services for DeShayla Harris will be held noon Friday at Mount Bethel Baptist Church at 4636 Indian River Road in Virginia Beach. A viewing will take place place Thursday at 3 p.m. at Solid Rock, Church of God in Christ, at 2100 Vicker Avenue in Chesapeake. Funeral arrangements are being handled by The Premier Funeral Services.

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