The 25-year-old man killed by police in Virginia, Beach this weekend was Pharrell Williams’ cousin, the mega-producer revealed on social media. Donovon Lynch was one of two fatalities from three separate shootings in the area on Friday night (March 26).
Police say Lynch was wielding a handgun during the incident. However, the officer who fired the fatal shots into Lynch’s torso and thigh did not have his body camera turned on “for unknown reasons,” according to police.
On Instagram, Pharrell mourned the loss of his cousin and asked for transparency in police’s investigation.
“The loss of these lives is a tragedy beyond measure,” he wrote. “My cousin Donovon was killed during the shootings. He was a bright light and someone who always showed up for others.”
“It is critical my family and the other victims’ families get the transparency, honesty and justice they deserve,” his post continued. “Virginia Beach is the epitome of hope and tenacity and, as a community, we will get through this and come out even stronger.”
The officer who killed Lynch has yet to be identified and will remain on administrative assignment pending the investigation, which police say is their standard procedure.
“The officer was wearing a bodycam, but for unknown reasons at this point in time, it was not activated,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate said at a news conference on Saturday (March 27).
He added, “I do not have the answers that the community is looking for in regards to this death right now.”
According to police, the officer told homicide detectives that Lynch had a gun and witnesses said they saw him with a gun earlier in the evening. Police say a handgun was recovered from the scene. The officer has reportedly been with the department for five years.
Another person, former “Bad Girls Club” star Deshayla Harris, was also killed in a separate shooting that night. Police believe she was “an innocent victim probably struck by stray gunfire.”
The Virginia Beach Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney told CNN that it will use its own officials to investigate the shooting of Lynch.
“The police department conducts their own investigation and provides us with their findings. We then review both investigations and determine whether or not charges are appropriate,” Macie Allen, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney public information officer, told the outlet.
So far, three men have been arrested in connection with the first shooting and charged with seven counts of felonious assault, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and reckless handling of a firearm. Police believe that shooting began with an argument among a group of people on Atlantic Avenue. There were 10 victims in total in all three of the shootings, including Lynch and Harris.
According to the Bristol Herald Courier, Lynch graduated from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2019 and was an offensive lineman for the school’s 2017 and 2018 seasons. See Pharrell’s tragic post about his cousin below.