Family attorney claims Donovon Lynch’s body moved during investigation, another man was shot at scene by VB police

Virginia News

VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — The attorney for the family of Donovon Lynch, the 25-year-old man shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer at the Oceanfront on March 26, says that he believes Lynch’s body was moved during the investigation and that a man who went to help Lynch was shot in the hand by a second Virginia Beach police officer who responded during the incident.

Jeff Reichert said at a press conference on Monday that he has evidence through witness statements and through surveillance video, but did not immediately disclose details about that evidence.

Reichert also said the investigation into Lynch’s death was mishandled from the start, claiming investigators aren’t interviewing key witnesses. According to Reichert, another person attempted to give Lynch aid that night when they were shot in the hand by another officer. Reichert said the person has not been interviewed by any investigators yet.

Reichert and the Lynch family continued to call for a federal investigation.

WAVY reached out to both Virginia Beach Police and Virginia State Police for comment. Virginia State Police investigators have taken over the investigation.

Virginia Beach police still say only one person was shot by police that night. State police said they are only investigating the officer-involved shooting where Lynch was the victim.

25-year-old Donovon Lynch (Photo courtesy: WAVY News 10’s Andy Fox via Lynch’s family)

After Lynch was shot twice just before midnight, Reichert said Lynch’s body was placed on a gurney and he wasn’t taken to the hospital. Lynch died at 12:07 a.m., and Reichert said the body was moved to the scene where DeShayla Harris’ body rested. She was the other person fatally shot that night, by what police said was a stray bullet in crossfire.

The shooting of Lynch happened near a pine tree on the corner of 20th Street and Pacific Avenue, while Harris was shot in the 300 block of 19th Street.

Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney sent 10 On Your Side this statement in response to the questions raised by Reichert.

“With condolences to the Lynch and Harris families, we reaffirm our commitment to thorough investigations into the circumstances of the deaths of Donovan Lynch and DeShayla Harris on March 26, 2021. The City has already demonstrated its willingness to have a separate investigation into the officer involved shooting by asking the Virginia State Police to assume responsibility for it. Should the federal government decide to become involved in the investigation, the City will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we encourage anyone with information in this case to contact the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation at (757) 424-6800 or by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov. Anonymous tips are welcome. 

We are restricted in our ability to provide information while the Virginia State Police investigation into the officer involved shooting is under way, however, we can clarify the circumstances regarding the movement of Mr. Lynch after the shooting occurred. In order to render aid to Mr. Lynch in a safer area, Virginia Beach firefighters and police officers carried Mr. Lynch about half a block east on 20th Street between Atlantic and Pacific avenues. Ms. Harris was found at the corner of Pacific Ave. and 19th Street and first responders rendered aid to her in that location. At no time were Mr. Lynch or Ms. Harris moved to be proximate to each other.

EMS and Fire crews followed guidelines for responding to active shooter and multiple casualty incidents. In those cases, patients are rapidly removed by rescue teams to secured areas where more effective treatment can be safely provided. Mr. Lynch was moved a short distance away where additional medical personnel and lighting were available. Mr. Lynch was determined to be deceased at the scene by EMS and Fire personnel shortly after he was moved. At the time of the incident, EMS and Fire crews were responding to multiple reports of injured persons at different locations in the area. Eight patients were ultimately transported to the hospital.

11 people in total were struck after multiple shootings that night, Virginia Beach’s police chief said. No arrests have been made in Harris’ death so far, but several people have been arrested on charges related to the shootings and sales of guns police said were used in the shootings.

Reichert also said he believes Lynch was not “brandishing” a firearm at the time, as police later said in a press release days after the shooting, according to eyewitness statements and based on Lynch’s character. His family says Lynch did have a license to carry.

The family also shared on Monday that the officer and Lynch knew each other.

The officer who shot Lynch did not have their body camera on for “unknown reasons,” police said. Reichert says the second officer that responded was also not wearing a body camera.

Reichert also called again for a federal independent investigation into Lynch’s death, and said if that doesn’t happen there will be a separate independent investigation will be financed. Lynch’s cousin is music superstar Pharrell Williams, who has also publicly called for an independent investigation.

Virginia State Police are currently in charge of the official investigation.

Reichert says he’s in the process of getting more surveillance footage, including from a nearby church.

“The truth will prevail and Donovon Lynch will be honored and revered, said Wayne Lynch, Donovon’s father. “We will take this movement all over the country for other parents. This is at my doorstep now.”

Anyone with information or cell phone video before, of, or after the shooting should contact the Virginia State Police at 757-424-6800 or by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

BELOW: Watch the full press conference.

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