VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Family and friends of Donovon Lynch, the man killed by Virginia Beach Police at the Oceanfront on March 26, believe his body was moved and left for an inhumane amount of time.
During a press conference Monday, they claimed another Virginia Beach Police officer shot someone else in the Oceanfront shootings.
During the press conference, Donovon’s family and friends continued to beg for more transparency.
“We are heartbroken. Angry. Frustrated. Hurt,” Donovon’s father, Wayne Lynch, said Monday.
Wayne was surrounded by friends, family and supporters, speaking out 18 days after his son was shot and killed.
The family remains upset, saying police have not been transparent and that they believe officials are leaving out huge details of what happened at the Oceanfront that night.
Jeff Reichert, the family attorney, says Donovon was shot in the leg and chest from just 15 yards away as he was fleeing the sound of gunshots nearby.
“There was a second officer that shot a witness that came to Donovon’s aid. Right there - shot him in [the] hand. He got away; no one has talked to that person,” Reichert said.
Donovon’s loved ones remain mystified as to why the names of the two officers they now believe were involved have gone unnamed.
Reichert said, “Two officers fired their weapons, and neither one of their cameras were on?”
According to eyewitnesses and surveillance video they've obtained, loved ones believe that Donovon's body was moved near DeShayla Harris’ body. She was a victim killed from shots fired that night. They said Donovon’s body sat on a gurney until 9 a.m. the next morning.
“How did he get from here to over there? His body laid in [the] street all night long while family was looking for it,” Reichert said.
Another frustration of family and friends is that they say VBPD has changed their story several times. Loved ones at the press conference said the latest information is that Donovon was brandishing a weapon. They say - again from eyewitnesses - it did not happen, and the family said he had a permit to carry.
“I asked them tweet a retraction of [the] word 'brandishing' until you can confirm or deny whether he was brandishing a weapon,” Reichert said.
The family is now asking for a federal investigation from the Department of Justice, regular updates from state and local police and immediate identification of the officers they said are involved.
News 3 reached out to Virginia Beach Police to ask if the body was moved, if the other officer the family believes was involved and shot someone is being investigated, and when or if they will release the names of police officers involved.
In a statement released later Monday, Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney told News 3 Lynch's body was moved so officials could give him aid in a safer area. Duhaney says firefighters and police carried Lynch "about half a block east on 20th Street between Atlantic and Pacific Avenues," adding that EMS and fire crews followed guidelines for responding to active shooter incidents and incidents with multiple casualties.
Duhaney's full statement can be read below:
“With condolences to the Lynch and Harris families, we reaffirm our commitment to thorough investigations into the circumstances of the deaths of Donovan Lynch and DeShayla Harris on March 26, 2021. The City has already demonstrated its willingness to have a separate investigation into the officer involved shooting by asking the Virginia State Police to assume responsibility for it. Should the federal government decide to become involved in the investigation, the City will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we encourage anyone with information in this case to contact the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation at (757) 424-6800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips are welcome.
We are restricted in our ability to provide information while the Virginia State Police investigation into the officer involved shooting is under way, however, we can clarify the circumstances regarding the movement of Mr. Lynch after the shooting occurred. In order to render aid to Mr. Lynch in a safer area, Virginia Beach firefighters and police officers carried Mr. Lynch about half a block east on 20th Street between Atlantic and Pacific avenues. Ms. Harris was found at the corner of Pacific Ave. and 19th Street and first responders rendered aid to her in that location. At no time were Mr. Lynch or Ms. Harris moved to be proximate to each other.
EMS and Fire crews followed guidelines for responding to active shooter and multiple casualty incidents. In those cases, patients are rapidly removed by rescue teams to secured areas where more effective treatment can be safely provided. Mr. Lynch was moved a short distance away where additional medical personnel and lighting were available. Mr. Lynch was determined to be deceased at the scene by EMS and Fire personnel shortly after he was moved. At the time of the incident, EMS and Fire crews were responding to multiple reports of injured persons at different locations in the area. Eight patients were ultimately transported to the hospital.”