VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) Authorities in Virginia Beach say a Black man fatally shot by police had pointed a gun at the officer who shot him.
The city’s version of events appears in a court filing in response to a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the man’s family earlier this year, The Virginian-Pilot reported on July 26.
Donovon Lynch was shot by a Virginia Beach police officer in late March along the city’s oceanfront during a chaotic night in which 10 people were shot during separate incidents in a short period of time.
Police initially said a uniformed officer “encountered an armed citizen” and fatally shot him. The city’s legal filing on July 21 says the officer “feared for his life and the lives of other officers and citizens in the vicinity.”
The officer was identified in the filing as Solomon D. Simmons III, who is also Black. The city’s filing says Simmons heard “what sounded to him like the slide of a handgun placing a bullet in the chamber.”
It says Lynch then rose from some shrubs and pointed a gun in Simmons’ direction before the officer fatally shot him. Police said the officer’s body camera was not activated for unknown reasons.
The city’s version of events contradicts what a witness told The Virginian-Pilot earlier this year. Darrion Marsh, a friend of Lynch’s who said he witnessed the shooting, told the newspaper that the officer shot Lynch without any verbal warning.
Lynch’s family has said that he had a concealed-carry permit and had a gun on him the night of the shooting. Marsh said Lynch never took the gun out of his cargo shorts.
Lynch was a cousin of Virginia Beach native and Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams.
EDITS: This story has been edited throughout for clarity. The headline has also been edited. – Associated Press