Several months after Pharrell Williams’ cousin Donovon Lynch was shot and killed by police in Virginia Beach, prosecutors announced Tuesday that a grand jury had found “no probable cause” to charge Officer Solomon D. Simmons in Lynch’s death.
The Associated Press reports Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle said Simmons was justified in protecting himself in the late March shooting. Simmons alleged that Lynch had a gun on him.
“There were numerous people in that parking lot when Officer Simmons saw Mr. Lynch starting to come up with the firearm,” Stolle said. “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?”
The news arrives eight months after Lynch was killed at just 25 years old. The tragedy occurred March 26, while Simmons was responding to reports of shot being fired in Virginia Beach. According to a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit filed in June by Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, Donovon and a friend were exiting a restaurant when gunshots started to ring out.
Wayne says that although his son was not involved with the shooting, Simmons “immediately, unlawfully, and without warning” fired multiple shots at his son, resulting in his death.
“Officer Simmons was on his way to respond to an incident in which Mr. Lynch was not a suspect and not involved,” the lawsuit reads. “Mr. Lynch posed no threat to Officer Simmons or anyone else … [but] Virginia Beach Police Officer Solomon D Simmons shot Mr. Lynch twice, killing him.”
Days after Donovon’s death, Pharrell called for more “transparency, honesty, and justice.” The multi-hyphenate spent his 48th birthday attending his cousin’s funeral, where he delivered an emotional speech.