CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The trial for a Chesapeake security guard charged with murder is expected to begin Tuesday.
Police accused Johnathan Cromwell of shooting Jiansheng Chen back in January of 2017.
Police say Cromwell was patrolling the River Walk community when he came across Chen in a parked van on the night of January 26, 2017.
Chen was driving a blue van around when he turned into the driveway of River Walk’s clubhouse parking area.
That is where Cromwell saw the van, and stopped his vehicle directly in front of Chen’s van and confronted him.
Chen’s family says the 60-year-old did not speak any English, and claim he was playing the popular smartphone game Pokemon Go at the time.
Chen then backed his van up and turned his vehicle around to the point that it was at the entrance of the driveway facing River Walk Parkway, when he was shot.
Cromwell has admitted to shooting Chen, and his attorney says Cromwell believed he was doing his job and thought Chen was going to kill him.
The commonwealth’s attorney argues it was not self defense, but actually murder.
They claim Cromwell shot Chen while he was driving away, and that Cromwell’s life was never in danger.
Since Chen’s death, there’s been outrage through the community.
Cromwell was originally facing a second-degree murder, but that has since upgraded to first-degree murder.
Meanwhile, Chen’s family is seeking $5,350,000 in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
They filed it against Cromwell, his employer, and the Riverwalk Community Association.
10 On Your Side will continue to follow this case and post any updates here on WAVY.com.