VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams and the Rev. William J. Barber, a nationally known pastor, were among those who spoke Monday at the funeral for a Black man and former college football player who was recently shot and killed by police in Virginia Beach.
Donovon Lynch, 25, was killed in the early morning hours of March 27 along the city’s popular oceanfront strip of hotels and restaurants shortly after two other shootings unleashed chaos. Police said Lynch had a handgun and that it was recovered from the scene. But the officer’s body camera had not been activated. The officer who killed Lynch was also Black.
Barber, a North Carolina pastor who gave the homily at President Joe Biden’s inaugural prayer service, said Lynch’s death raises too many questions, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
“When a man doing as good as Donovon Lynch is shot and killed there is a mandate for truth no matter what color the officers are,” he said. “The people can handle the truth but we will settle for nothing less.”
Williams, who is Lynch’s cousin and a Virginia Beach native, called for a forum to discuss what the city stands for and what it wants to be.
“Virginia Beach, you need to talk — talk about your issues, talk about your struggles so we can get past them,” Williams said. “We need to put each other on notice, not to tear each other down but to lift each other up so we can be effective; so that we can win.”
The city’s police department recently turned over the investigation into Lynch’s death to the Virginia State Police.
Lynch lived in Virginia Beach. He was 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,
Lynch’s shooting was one of three separate shooting incidents that occurred in the same night in an area along the city’s oceanfront.
One of the other shootings stemmed from a fight and left several people wounded from gunshots, police said. Three men were arrested.
The other shooting claimed the life of Deshayla E. Harris, 28, who lived in the neighboring city of Norfolk. She was likely a bystander struck by stray bullets when a gunfight broke out in a nearby parking lot, police said. No arrests have been made in her death.