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Man killed by Va. security guard was playing Pokémon Go, lawyer says

Posted at 3:16 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 17:00:39-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- A 60-year-old man shot and killed by a security guard during an altercation in Chesapeake was playing the game Pokémon GO, said the lawyer for the family.

Jiansheng Chen died at the scene around 11 p.m. Thursday, according to affiliate WTKR.

Further investigation revealed a security guard confronted the victim, who was seated in his minivan parked at the Riverwalk clubhouse. An altercation ensued and the security guard shot the victim, WTKR reports.

Greg Sandler, an attorney working with the family, said that Chen played Pokémon Go, the popular augmented reality game that features special points of interest based on a user’s location, to connect with his grandchildren.

The game features virtual gyms for player to fight and collect points. The clubhouse was a gym in the game, with nearby Pokestops, Sandler said, according to an interview with WTKR.

"The screenshot depicts that the center is a Pokemon gym, which apparently in the game is a place where people go," Sandler said.

“I cannot imagine what could have justified shooting through the front windshield of Mr. Chen’s van five times,” Sandler told WTKR. 

A gym can hold a maximum of 10 players, and to fight inside a gym can take anywhere from minutes to much longer.

A witness, who asked WTKR to protect her identity, said she heard five gunshots.

Attorney Greg Sandler

Attorney Greg Sandler. PHOTO: WTKR

"I could see the security guard pointing at the car and he was yelling at the guy but I could clearly see that the guy was deceased," she said. "The security guard kind of panicked, started cursing, I saw him pace around the car."

The security guard works for a private company called Citywide that was hired by River Walk management (their statement below). The company said they hire "unarmed roving patrol services."

Chen's younger brother, Jian Chen, said Jiansheng does not speak any English other than words like "sorry" and "bye."

Jian owns the Royal China restaurant down the street from where the shooting occurred. He said Jiansheng was with him at the restaurant until 10:30 Thursday night.

Sandler told WTKR that Chen's family lives in the area.

“His family is a homeowner in the area,” said Sandler. “Ironically, he is one of the people security is supposed to be protecting as a homeowner.”

Jian Chen said his brother left the restaurant around 10:30 p.m. and he never heard from him again.

Jian Chen said his brother left the restaurant around 10:30 p.m. and he never heard from him again.

Sandler said that Jiansheng is a retired businessman from New York. He is frequently in the area to spend time with his two brothers and two children.

There are no charges at this time, but police said the shooting remains under investigation.

The River Walk Community Association did release a statement saying, "The River Walk Community Association does have a contract for unarmed roving patrol services for the common areas of the community. We are fully cooperating with authorities investigating the incident that took place just outside association property."