On Tuesday (November 30) a grand jury reportedly ruled that Virginia police officer Solomon Simmons will not be charged for the shooting death of Pharrell Williams’ cousin, Donovon Lynch, citing “no probably cause” and considered the shooting justifiable self-defense.
The Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office held a news conference to provide an update regarding the officer-involved fatal incident, WTKR reports.
The press conference comes months after Lynch’s family filed a $50 million lawsuit against the City of Virginia Beach, which the city filed a motion against to dismiss.
Investigators found that Simmons’ body camera was off during the time of the shooting while witness statements conflict about what occured that night. One witness says Lynch was attempting to cock back a firearm before Simmons fired his weapon at the man. Lynch’s gun was found at the scene with a bullet in the chamber, however there is no evidence that proves it was fired.
“There were numerous people in that parking lot when Officer Simmons saw Mr. Lynch starting to come up with the firearm,” Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle stated at the press conference. “So it is not only just whether the weapon was pointed at Officer Simmons. It was also— are the people in the parking lot at risk?”
In an October letter, Pharrell said his Something in the Water Festival would not be returning to Virginia Beach due to the city’s leadership’s “toxic energy.”
“I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life. I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by — and with toxic energy. The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, [Donovon] Lynch, a citizen of Virginia, is the same toxic energy that changed the narrative around the mass murder and senseless loss of life at Building Number 2.”
Simmons will remain on administrative assignment as the department conducts an internal investigation that City Manager Patrick Duhaney said will conclude no later than the end of 2022’s first quarter.