VB police shooting of Donovon Lynch, Pharrell Williams’ cousin, ruled a homicide by medical examiner

Virginia Beach

25-year-old Donovon Lynch (Photo Courtesy: WAVY News 10’s Andy Fox via Lynch’s family)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The death of Donovon Lynch, Pharrell Williams’ cousin, has been ruled a homicide, according to the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

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Lynch, 25, was fatally shot by a Virginia Beach police officer on March 26 at the Oceanfront. There were three separate shooting incidents that night that left two people dead and eight injured at the resort city.

VBPD said following the shooting that officers were responding to gunfire, which led to an “individual being confronted by a uniformed Virginia Beach police officer, resulting in a police intervention shooting.”

Police claim Lynch brandished a handgun before he was shot, and a gun was found at the scene. Lynch’s family argues Lynch could legally carry and wouldn’t have brandished a weapon.

There is no body camera footage of the incident because the officer involved didn’t activate his body camera. A plainclothes detective who responded also did not have a body camera.

No one has been criminally charged in connection with Lynch’s death.

Lynch’s father is also suing the officer who fired the fatal shot, saying VBPD failed to properly train its officers. The officer has disputed the lawsuit, saying Lynch pointed a gun at him before the fatal shots were fired.

Virginia State Police are currently conducting an independent investigation into the shooting, and the officer is on administrative leave in the meantime. 

In July, Virginia Beach City Auditor Lyndon Remias said he could find no other incident — besides the officer-involved shooting and killing of Lynch in late March at the Oceanfront — where force was used and the body camera was not turned on.

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