Virginia Beach Reaches $3 Million Settlement in Fatal Police Shooting

Virginia Beach Reaches $3 Million Settlement in Fatal Police Shooting

The city of Virginia Beach has reached a $3 million settlement with the family of a man who was fatally shot by a police officer during a chaotic night of violence last year, officials and the man’s family said.

The man, Donovon W. Lynch, 25, of Virginia Beach, was fatally shot by the officer in the city’s oceanfront area as officers responded to separate shootings in March 2021, the authorities said.

The city and the family announced the settlement in a joint statement on Tuesday.

“We have come to understand that a series of unfortunate occurrences led to Donovon’s death that night — which in hindsight should never have occurred as it was later determined that neither Donovon nor the officer set in motion the events that transpired,” the statement said. “We understand that the settlement will in no way lessen the grief and loss for the Lynch family.”

On Friday, Mr. Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, said in a phone interview that the settlement “provided some comfort and relief knowing that we were right, that my son did nothing to do with his death.”

He added that his son “was a law-abiding citizen and he did everything he was allowed to do as an American citizen.”

The evening that Donovon Lynch was fatally shot, a woman was killed by stray gunfire in Virginia Beach and eight other people were wounded by gunfire in a separate shooting that led to three arrests, the police said.

The police initially said the officer who shot Mr. Lynch had “encountered an armed citizen, which resulted in a police-involved shooting.” Mr. Lynch died at the scene, the police said.

The officer, who was identified in court records as Solomon Simmons III, was part of the Virginia Beach Police Department’s special operations division and had been with the department for five years, the police said.

Jeff Reichert, a lawyer for Mr. Lynch’s family, said on Friday that Mr. Lynch had gone out for dinner and drinks with his best friend on the oceanfront the night he was killed. Mr. Reichert said Mr. Lynch was licensed to carry a firearm, which he needed for his security business and for his plus-size shoe business, which relied on cash transactions.

“He never showed it and kept it in his pocket if he needed it for work,” Mr. Reichert said of the gun. “That’s where it was that night — in his pocket,” he added. “He had just completed a shoe deal earlier.”

In June 2021, Wayne Lynch filed a $50 million federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Virginia Beach and Officer Simmons.

In November 2021, a grand jury found that there was no evidence to support criminal charges against the officer, who continues to work full time with the department, Mr. Reichart said.

“Following an internal investigative review, the officer was not disciplined and has returned to full duty,” Tiffany M. Russell, a spokeswoman for the city of Virginia Beach, said on Friday.

Mr. Lynch, who played football for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise before graduating, was a cousin of the musician Pharrell Williams. Mr. Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, spoke at Mr. Lynch’s funeral.

Wayne Lynch said he planned to give the settlement money to the Donovon-Wayne Lynch Foundation, a social and economic justice nonprofit group that was set up in his son’s memory, “to honor his life and legacy, and to continue to restore his honor and character and reputation.”

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