No bond for Chesapeake security guard charged with murder

Posted at 9:41 AM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 09:42:22-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A judge denied bond for the security guard charged with the murder of a man playing Pokemon Go.

21-year-old Johnathan Cromwell appeared in court Monday morning.

He was charged with second degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a murder of 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen.

A judge said his decision was based on the nature of the crime, circumstances surrounding the case, and number of shots fired.

Earlier this month, the Commonwealth's Attorney said on the night of January 26, Chen was driving a blue van and turned into the driveway of the clubhouse parking area at the River Walk community. After seeing the van turn into the driveway, Cromwell confronted Chen by stopping his vehicle in front of Chen's.

Chen backed up and turned his vehicle around to the point that it was in the entrance of the driveway facing River Walk Parkway when he was shot.

The Commonwealth's Attorney said Cromwell exited his car and did say "stop" before he fired his weapon.

During Monday's hearing, the Commonwealth said Cromwell first shot at Chen's driver side window, then moved to the front of his van and fired seven shots. In total, Chen was hit with five bullets.

"I think it's scary, it’s unbelievable, it’s totally shocking, a 60-year-old person just parking in the parking lot, and got hit with so many shots," says Harry Zhang, organizer of Chinese Americans, Eastern Virginia chapter.

Zhang came to the courthouse with dozens of supporters, including some of Chen's family members and friends.

Chen's brother also testified during the hearing to say that he is fearful for his life.

"We worry about the potential revenge, it’s definitely it’s a scare, it’s a threat to the community, public safety," says Zhang.

Cromwell's attorney, Emily Munn, says this is an excessive force case and Cromwell acted in self-defense.

She says the company Cromwell worked for, Citywide Protection Services, along with a criminal justice investigation agency, cleared Cromwell.

Related: Chesapeake HOA fires security company after guard charged in death of Pokemon Go player

Munn added that Chen was given ban notices to stay away from the clubhouse after dark.

She also questioned why it took three weeks after the shooting for police to charge Cromwell.


Johnathan Cromwell (Picture provided by Cromwell's father)

Cromwell's family was in the courtroom for the hearing as well.

His father did not want to appear on camera, but he told News 3 that his family and Citywide are standing behind him "one hundred percent."

He also feels it will come out that the shooting was justified.

Cromwell's attorneys appealed the judge's decision and hearing is scheduled on Friday at 10:00 a.m.