Grand jury says officer-involved shooting death of Pharrell’s cousin justified

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Pharrell Williams (Photo credit: / DFree)

A special grand jury found that Virginia Beach, VA police officer Solomon D. Simmons was justified in fatally shooting Pharrell Williams’ cousin Donovon Lynch in March 2021.

The City of Virginia Beach held a two-hour news conference Nov. 30 as the city’s prosecutors stated that Simmons was justified in protecting himself and others in the moments leading up to the deadly shooting. According to a report from The Associated Press, Lynch placed a round into his handgun’s chamber and stood — pointing his weapon toward a parking lot filled with multiple people and police.

Prosecutors also stated during the press conference that Lynch began to turn toward Simmons, who yelled something at Lynch. However, Simmons never explicitly stated that Lynch pointed the gun directly at him, according to prosecutors.

“There were numerous people in that parking lot when Officer Simmons saw Mr. Lynch starting to come up with the firearm. 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?,” Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle told reporters.

In a videotaped statement, Simmons said the 25-year-old Lynch “seemed out of place.” Simmons stated in the video that Lynch had a gun and was crouched in the bushes next to the parking lot, where the shooting occurred and heard the distinct sound of a gun being “racked.”

“I’m thinking he’s going to start shooting into the parking lot,” Simmons explained in the video.

Williams announced in October that he pulled his Something in the Water music festival from his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia, stating that his city is run by a “toxic energy” and hasn’t valued his proposed solutions.

Wayne Lynch, the father of Donovan Lynch, filed a federal lawsuit following the death of his son in June and is seeking $50 million from the city as well.
(Image Source: Instagram – @pharrell)

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