Singer Pharrell Williams (above) has revealed that his cousin was the armed man who was fatally shot by Virginia Beach police
Singer Pharrell Williams has revealed that his cousin was the armed man who was fatally shot by Virginia Beach police during a chaotic night of gun battles in the street that left eight others wounded and a reality TV star dead.
Donovon W. Lynch, 25, was killed on Friday night in a ‘police intervention shooting’ after officers responding to a pitched gun battle at a beachfront street party found him ‘brandishing a handgun,’ Virginia Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Cragg said.
In a third nearby shooting incident, which is believed to be separate, former Bad Girls Club cast member Deshayla ‘Shay’ Harris, 29, was killed by what is thought to be a stray bullet.
Three men have been charged in the initial shootout that caused panic in the streets and drew police to the scene, and police have not yet determined whether Lynch fired any shots that night.
Friends of Lynch say that he was likely an innocent man caught up in the chaos, and the NAACP and Black Lives Matter groups have slammed the police shooting and the fact that officer bodycams were not activated.
Pharrell, the Grammy-winning ‘Happy’ hitmaker, echoed the demand for ‘justice’ in a heartbreaking Instagram post on Monday, writing: ‘The loss of these lives is a tragedy beyond measure.’
Pharrell, the Grammy-winning ‘Happy’ hitmaker, called for ‘justice’ in a heartbreaking Instagram post on Monday about the police shooting of his cousin Donovan Lynch (seen above), who was killed by police on Friday in Virginia Beach
Police recovered this Ruger semi-automatic pistol at the scene, and said that Lynch had been ‘brandishing’ it during a confrontation with police responding to a street party shootout
An independent witness also told police that Lynch had been carrying a handgun that evening. Above, an evidence photo shows the gun police recovered at the scene
Bad Girls Club cast member Deshayla ‘Shay’ Harris, 29, (third from left with fellow cast) was also killed nearby in what police believe was a separate shooting
‘My cousin Donovon was killed during the shootings. He was a bright light and someone who always showed up for others,’ Pharrell wrote in the tribute.
‘It is critical my family and the other victims’ families get the transparency, honesty and justice they deserve,’ he continued.
‘Virginia Beach is the epitome of hope and tenacity and, as a community, we will get through this and come out even stronger.’
The chaotic night on the shore unfolded after dark on Friday along a densely packed beachfront strip of hotels, clubs and restaurants, where huge Spring Break crowds had gathered on the streets to party.
Around 11.20pm, multiple 911 callers reported a wild gun battle in the street at 20th and Atlantic Avenue, with numerous people in the crowd seriously injured.
As cops were responding to that scene, additional shots were heard about a block west. Officers rushed over and say they found Lynch holding a gun, and fatally shot him in a confrontation.
At around the same time as the other two shooting incidents, Harris’ body was found in the 300 block of 19th Street, near Pacific Avenue, a block south of the police shooting.
Cops say that the shooting that left Harris dead is believed to be separate from both the nearby gun battle and the police shooting, and that she was likely an innocent bystander.
Donovon W. Lynch, 25, was killed on Friday night in Virginia Beach during a ‘police intervention shooting’ after officers responding to a pitched gun battle at a beachfront street party found him ‘brandishing a handgun,’ police said
The chaotic night on the shore unfolded after dark on Friday along a densely packed beachfront strip of hotels, clubs and restaurants, where huge Spring Break crowds gathered
Around 11.20pm, multiple 911 callers reported a wild gun battle in the street at 20th and Atlantic Avenue, with numerous people in the crowd seriously injured
As cops were responding to that scene, additional shots were heard about a block west. Officers rushed over and say they found Lynch holding a gun, and fatally shot him
Both officers who confronted Lynch said that he was ‘brandishing a handgun’, and an independent witness told investigators that Lynch had been carrying a firearm earlier in the evening, according to police.
Lynch, a Virginia Beach resident, was an offensive lineman for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise during the 2017 and 2018 seasons and a 2019 graduate of the school.
UVA Wise head football coach Dane Damron told local media that Lynch was a good player and an outgoing man. He recalled meeting with Lynch and his parents in their home when he was recruiting him.
‘He was in my house a lot of times as well, going through a cooking class my wife did with some of my players,’ Damron told the Bristol Herald Courier. ‘He never met a stranger. He´ll certainly be missed.’
Friends and family of Lynch say that they believe that he was not involved in the gun battle, and was caught up in the chaos at the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘He was a smart, loving, adorable and all around great young man, that I was very close to,’ the man’s aunt, Venita Lynch Alukwu, said in a Saturday post. ‘He was Murdered in his hometown, Virginia Beach by a Virginia Beach Police last night.’
Lynch, a Virginia Beach resident, was an offensive lineman for the University of Virginia´s College at Wise during the 2017 and 2018 seasons and a 2019 graduate of the school
Friends and family of Lynch say that they believe that he was not involved in the gun battle that terrorized Virginia Beach, and was caught up in the chaos at the wrong place at the wrong time
Both officers who confronted Lynch (seen on vacation) said that he was ‘brandishing a handgun’, and an independent witness told investigators that Lynch had been carrying a gun
Anthony Lamb, a childhood friend of Lynch’s, said that he has a lot of questions about the police shooting, but also blames the gunmen who provoked the incident by firing wildly at each other in a crowd.
‘I feel like if the young men weren’t out there behaving in the manner in which they were, shooting and causing terror to the community, the police wouldn’t have been out there at the moment,’ he told WAVY-TV.
‘My friend would still be here. So, yes I want to hold the officer accountable, yes, but I think we got to dig deeper. I think we got to start taking some accountability,’ he said.
The Virginia Beach chapter of the NAACP blasted the police shooting in a statement, saying: ‘In this incident, the department has failed on all accounts.’
BLM protesters also took to the streets of Virginia Beach on Saturday night, expressing outrage at the police shooting.
On Sunday, Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate said that the officer who killed Lynch was wearing a body camera. But the chief said that ‘for unknown reasons,’ it was not activated.
BLM protesters took to the streets of Virginia Beach on Saturday night, expressing outrage at the police shooting
Aubrey ‘Japharii’ Jones, president of the Black Lives Matter local chapter uses a bull horn to express outrage at the police shooting. Officers did not have bodycams activated
The NAACP chapter expressed fury at the lack of bodycam video, calling for an outside investigation and saying that the without the footage the truth of the circumstances could not be known.
‘We will not stand by silently while an African American citizen has been shot down in the Resort City!’ the chapter said.
VBPD says that once their investigation is complete, all statements and evidence will be submitted to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, which is conducting its own independent investigation into the police shooting.
‘We would like to provide the community answers. At this point we do not have them,’ the police chief said.
The officer who shot Lynch has been placed on administrative leave, police said. He has been with the department for five years and is assigned to its special operations division.
On Monday, the three men charged with participating in the original gun battle all made their first appearances in court via video link.
Ahmon Jahree Adams, 22, of Chesapeake, Virginia; Nyquez Tyyon Baker, 18, of Virginia Beach; and Devon Maurice Dorsey Jr., 20, of Virginia Beach each face seven counts of malicious wounding and related charges.
They remain in jail without bond and will have bail hearings in the coming days after talking to their respective attorneys.
Investigators believe the first of the shootings, for which the three men are charged, stemmed from a fight involving a group of people, the Virginia Beach Police Department said in a statement.
Baker, one of the men who was charged, told the judge during his court appearance that he was unable to talk to his family because he ‘was in the hole’ and felt like he was ‘getting tortured.’
Kathy Hieatt, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Sheriff´s Office, told the AP that all newly admitted inmates are quarantined for 14 days as a COVID-19 precaution. And Baker was not placed in the jail’s disciplinary housing, which is colloquially called ‘the hole,’ she said.
Hieatt said that Baker has made more than 40 phone calls, although they weren’t successful for reasons such as Baker hanging up or his call not being accepted. He also had a visit with his attorney on Monday, she said.
No suspect has yet been charged in the shooting that killed Harris, who is thought to have been an innocent bystander.
Deshayla ‘Shay’ Harris, 29, was identified by family and friends as the woman who was gunned down during the chaotic night in Virginia Beach on Friday
Just hours before the shootings, Harris took to Instagram to share a number of Boomerang clips of her enjoying her night out at what appears to be a restaurant
Harris was a cast member of the final season of Bad Girls Club, a reality show that took ‘tough women’ with aggressive and quarrelsome attitudes and had them live together in the lap of luxury at a mansion in an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood.
Harris, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, appeared in the 2017 season of BGC, where her nickname was the ‘Firecracker Fashionista.’
Just hours before the shootings, Harris took to Instagram to share a number of Boomerang clips of her enjoying her night out at what appears to be a restaurant.
She said in the post: ‘I’m only doing s**t that’s gonna make me elevate..!!’
Fans and loved ones added their condolences under the post and also took to other social media platforms to remember Harris.
‘I didn’t get a txt from you this morning you broke my heart Deshayla Shay Harris why you leave us like this my heart hurt so bad bae why you do this man,’ said her sister, Tashara ‘Shani’ Harris, on Facebook. Shani said that the pair texted everyday.
‘I didn’t get a txt from you this morning you broke my heart Deshayla Shay Harris why you leave us like this my heart hurt so bad bae why you do this man,’ said her sister, Tashara ‘Shani’ Harris, on Facebook
Several of Harris’ former BGC castmates took to social media to remember Harris and their shock at the news of her death.
‘No matter how much I refused to talk to you…you never took no for an answer you popped up to my show just to prove fixing our friendship meant something to you,’ fellow BGC castmate Keyaira ‘Key’ Hamilton said in an Instagram tribute to Harris.
‘Hardest part about losing you is I never fully forgave you. I literally let that TV sh*t stand between us building a connection outside of tv. you didn’t deserve this man this sh*t jus don’t feel real ….I’m sick affffff.’
Briana ‘Bri’ Walker, the replacement cast member from the season, added: ‘Last night we lost one of our BGC sisters. RIP Deshayla.’
‘My heart is shaking right now,’ said Kiyanna ‘Kiki’ Bygrave. ‘You didn’t deserve this at all, I can’t believe this is even true Shay.’
She added: ‘This is truly horrendous and unimaginable.’