Pharrell Williams has revealed that a man recently killed by Virginia Beach police was his cousin. The killing of Donovan Lynch happened during shooting incidents at the city's oceanfront resort area that left two people dead and eight injured.
The Bristol Herald Courier reported that Lynch, 25, of Virginia Beach, had been 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. Head football coach Dane Damron talked to the paper about Lynch.
“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 said. “He never met a stranger. He’ll certainly be missed.”
According to the Virginia Beach Police department, Donovan Lynch was "brandishing a handgun at the time of the shooting." Reports indicate that the officers body cameras were turned off. Virginia Beach police chief Paul Neudigate later revealed that investigators found a firearm “in the vicinity” of the shooting but had no evidence that it belonged to Lynch, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
Pharrell addressed the incident via Instagram.
“The loss of these lives is a tragedy beyond measure," the Grammy-winning superproducer tweeted. "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."
The Lynch shooting was one of three shootings that occurred over last weekend in Virginia Beach, and it has led to protests from local residents. Two people, Donovon Lynch, 25, and Deshayla Harris, 29, were killed and eight others were injured during the shootings. Harris was a former cast member on the Oxygen series Bad Girls Club.
The Virginia Beach NAACP has criticized the police department following the incidents, saying police “failed on all accounts” in a press release.
“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 statement read. “The $5.5m implementation investment on body-worn cameras is worthless when officers do not turn the camera on for recording. Mr Lynch is not here to tell his side! The officer involved has no reason to be forthcoming about any facts that places him in an adverse light.”
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