Officer Who Shot Pharrell Williams’ Cousin Was Cleared by Grand Jury

In Summary

The trial was about a Virginia Beach police officer fatally shooting Donovan Lynch, who was armed with a gun.

A Virginia Beach police officer who shot and killed a Black man named Donovan Lynch was cleared by a grand jury as they found he was justified, according to the Associated Press.  

The incident occurred in the city’s oceanfront in the spring where there was a lot of violence. Lynch’s death has been getting a lot of attention because he is the cousin of famous musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams. 

RELATED: Cousin of Pharell Williams shot, killed by police in Virginia Beach

Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against a Black police officer, Solomon D. Simmons, and the city of Virginia Beach for not training its officers. 

City prosecutors say that Simmons was justified in protecting himself and others when Lynch pointed his weapon toward a parking lot filled with people and police, according to the Associated Press. 

“There were numerous people in that parking lot when Officer Simmons saw Mr. Lynch starting to come up with the firearm,” said Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle. “So it is not only just whether the weapon was pointed at Officer Simmons. It was also —- are the people in the parking lot at risk?” 

The 25-year-old Lynch played college football as an offensive lineman for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He graduated from the school in 2019. 

RELATED: Pharrell Cancels Virginia Festival, Cites Toxic Leadership Among Concerns

Reaction from Lynch’s death continues to impact Virginia Beach, according to the Associated Press. Williams sent a letter to city officials in October stating that he wouldn’t bring his Something in the Water Festival back to his hometown because of how they handled his cousin’s death. 

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