Virginia Beach police on Monday said a 25-year-old man shot and killed by an officer Friday night at the Oceanfront was “brandishing” a gun when the officer fired at him.
The officer who shot Donovon Lynch — and another one who witnessed the incident — told detectives Lynch had a gun when he was struck by the officer’s gunfire, according to a news release from the department. The gun was recovered from the scene, police said.
An independent witness also told detectives Lynch “had been in possession of a handgun” earlier that evening, the news release said.
Lynch, a former football player for Norfolk Christian School and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, died from gunshots to his torso and thigh, according to a spokesperson for the Tidewater Medical Examiner’s Office.
A spokesperson for Lynch’s family could not be reached for comment Monday. The officer who shot him has not been identified by police.
The shooting of Lynch was one of three separate shooting incidents that occurred late Friday at the Oceanfront, according to police.
The first happened at about 11:20 p.m., near the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and 20th Street. A group of people got into an argument that soon turned physical and ended with several of them firing guns, police said. Eight people were injured. Three men have been charged in that incident.
The second happened several minutes later and a short distance away. A woman walking out of a side door of Nightmare Mansion, a haunted house attraction at 20th Street and Atlantic Avenue, was hit by the gunfire and killed.
Police believe 29-year-old Deshayla Harris, of Norfolk, was an innocent bystander struck by stray gunfire. She died from a gunshot to the head, according to the medical examiner’s office.
While that incident was happening, an officer “encountered” Lynch nearby and shot him, according to police. The officer did not have his body cam turned on at the time.
Police said they will continue investigating the incident. The department’s internal affairs unit and the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are also investigating. Police Chief Paul Neudigate plans to provide further updates to City Council during a special session on Tuesday.
The officer involved will remain on administrative duty while the case is investigated.
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
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) March 29, 2021
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