Who was Donovon Lynch? Tragic story of Pharrell Williams' cousin, 25, shot dead by cop in Virginia Beach shootout

'He was a bright light and someone who always showed up for others,' Pharrell wrote about his cousin


                            Who was Donovon Lynch? Tragic story of Pharrell Williams' cousin, 25, shot dead by cop in Virginia Beach shootout
Pharrell Williams (L) and Donovon Lynch (R) (Instagram/Pharrell)
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In his latest Instagram post, singer Pharrell Williams paid a poignant tribute to his late cousin Donovon Lynch. Additionally, he revealed that the 25-year-old man was shot dead during the Virginia Beach shootings on March 26. The 'Happy' hitmaker described Donovon as "someone who always showed up for others". Calling the incident "tragedy beyond measure", Williams sought 'transparency' in the police investigation.

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Williams posted the photo on Instagram soon after the Virginia Beach Police Department released a statement about Lynch's death. Williams wrote, "The loss of these lives is a tragedy beyond measure. 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. Virginia Beach is the epitome of hope and tenacity and, as a community, we will get through this and come out even stronger." 

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Who was Donovon Lynch?

Donovon W Lynch, 25, was killed in an officer-involved shooting at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on Friday, March 26. Police officers involved in his shooting have stated that Lynch was carrying a gun at the time. 

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He was a student of Behavioral Sciences at San Francisco's City College and played college football for the University of Virginia's College at Wise. He played in the position of an offensive lineman during the 2017-2018 seasons, before graduating in 2019. Lynch was also a volunteer at 'Something In The Water' concert held by Pharrell Williams in Virginia, reported SportsliveInfo

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From September 2016 to July 2017, Lynch worked as a cashier at Bluecrew in San Francisco, before working as a warehouse laborer at Shelter Co. 

He worked as a part-time fulfillment associate at Amazon in Chesapeake, from September 2019 to May 2020. 

Donovon Lynch (LinkedIn/Donovon Lynch)

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'Great teammate, great friend'

Dane Damron, Lynch's football coach at UVA College of Wise, revealed to 13 News Now that his mother had cancer. In fact, Lynch and Damron bonded over tragedy; as Lynch spent hours in Damron's office who lost his father to cancer. "I remember the day his mother passed away like it was yesterday, he came in here and cried on my shoulder," Damron recalled. His wife was also close with Lynch, who attended a cooking class at the Damron household and diligently took notes.  

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"Great teammate, great friend, getting a college degree was very important to him. He was very fun-loving, very engaging, I don't think he ever met a stranger," revealed Damron.

 


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How did Donovan Lynch die?

On March 26, around 11:20 pm, police came in contact with Lynch in the 300 block of 20th Street while responding to the gunfire at Virginia Beach Oceanfront. He was one of eight victims who lost their lives in the series of shootings at the Oceanfront that day. The officer involved in Lynch's shooting had been with the police department for five years and was in the special operations division. After the shooting, he was placed on administrative leave till the outcome of the investigation.

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In their latest statement issued three hours ago, Virginia Beach Police Department wrote:

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Update to the March 26, 2021, Officer Involved Shooting

Homicide detectives have now conducted interviews with the officer involved in the shooting death of Mr. Donovon Lynch, an officer who witnessed the incident, as well as independent witnesses.

Both officers report that Mr. Lynch was brandishing a handgun at the time of the shooting. It was recovered at the scene. An independent witness affirmed that Mr. Lynch had been in possession of a handgun earlier on the evening of March 26, 2021.

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The specific actions which resulted in the shooting are part of the ongoing criminal investigation. Once the VBPD investigation is complete, all statements and evidence will be submitted to the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney (OCA). The OCA is conducting a separate investigation into this incident, independent of the Police Department.
Once the criminal investigation and subsequent review and findings by the OCA are complete, the VBPD Internal Affairs Bureau will begin its investigation into policy and procedure compliance.

In a Special Session of City Council tomorrow afternoon, Chief Neudigate will provide further updates on the other two shooting incidents that occurred on March 26, 2021."

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The post was accompanied by photographs of a gun recovered at the scene believed to belong to Lynch. 

 


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Family and friends mourn Lynch's death

Besides cousin Pharrell Williams, Donovon Lynch's tragic death was mourned by his family, friends and acquaintances. A day after he was shot dead, his father Wayne told Andy Fox from WAVY News, "A father’s dream son! Intelligent, handsome, a scholar, an athlete, an entrepreneur, and loved by all he came in contact with Rest In Peace Don!”


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"VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT has killed another Black man.His name was #DonovonLynch & he was 25 years old! Lynch’s father reached out to Andy calling his son “a father’s dream.” WE need to STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK! Out of your homes. Into the streets!! BLACK LIVES MATTER," a Twitter user mourned.


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Football coach Dane Damron remembered him in an emotional statement, "He loved where he was from. He was all about the 757 now. He was a good one. My mind immediately goes back to the good times that he had, the young man that he was. You have to understand that I was lucky to have him in my life for two years, and I don't regret that," reported 13 News Now.

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Damron added that his life was better to have had Lynch in it for two years, and remarked, "This football program is better because we had the chance to have Donovan as a part of it for two years."