Pharrell Williams said on Monday that his cousin was killed by police in Virginia Beach, Virginia, last week. The Virginia Beach police said Williams’ cousin was brandishing a handgun, and the city’s police chief announced Tuesday he asked the Virginia State Police to investigate the shooting.
Williams’ cousin, 25-year-old Donovon W. Lynch, was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer in one of three separate incidents late Friday night. In one of the other shootings, 28-year-old Deshayla E. Harris was also killed, and investigators believe she was hit by stray gunfire, Chief Paul Neudigate told reporters Monday.
The Grammy-winning artist tweeted that the loss of these lives is a “tragedy beyond measure.”
“My cousin Donovon was killed during the shootings,” Williams wrote. “It is critical my family and the other victims’ families get the transparency they deserve. VA Beach is the epitome of hope and we will get through this.”
The loss of these lives is a tragedy beyond measure. My cousin Donovon was killed during the shootings. It is critical my family and the other victims’ families get the transparency they deserve. VA Beach is the epitome of hope and we will get through this. pic.twitter.com/npGxhbRwLk
Virginia Beach police said Lynch was “brandishing a handgun” at the time of the officer-involved shooting, and they recovered the firearm. On Tuesday, Neudigate said in a statement he asked the state police to take over the investigation of the shooting.
“The Lynch family and the involved officer each deserve a comprehensive and thorough investigation into this incident,” Neudigate said.
#VBPD Chief of Police @PaulNeudigate Statement. pic.twitter.com/paNuuLLwkV
The police said Monday prosecutors were conducting a separate investigation into the shooting.
Also on Monday, Neudigate told reporters the body camera worn by the officer who shot Lynch was not activated for “unknown reasons.”
The Virginia Beach NAACP said in a statement they were “distressed” over the deaths of Lynch and Harris.
“We are not surprised of the revelation that the body camera of the officer involved in the death of Mr. Lynch was not activated,” the organization said. “Disciplinary actions surrounding an officer misconduct should not be withheld from the public under the pretext ‘It’s a personnel issue.’ This has been the case in the past. Transparency of police disciplinary is required now.”
In the third shooting, which left eight people wounded, three suspects have been arrested. Ahmon Jahree Adams, 22, Nyquez Tyyon Baker, 18, and Devon Maurice Dorsey Jr., 20, were each charged with seven counts of felonious assault, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and reckless handling of a firearm.
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