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Memorial service held for man killed by Virginia Beach Police

Donovon Lynch
Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 21:36:07-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Hundreds gathered Monday morning to celebrate "The Life of a Prince."

"We are here because we loved him," said one pastor.

Dozens filed by an open casket where 25-year-old Donovon Lynch laid at Wave Church in Virginia Beach, surrounded by flowers.

"Wayne, his father said - he was a father's dream and a respectable young man," one speaker said. "He was big but gentle."

The UVA-Wise football star and avid basketball player was shot and killed on March 26 by a Virginia Beach Police officer during the Oceanfront shootings.

Family said Donovon was an entrepreneur, a youth coordinator and a man of devoted faith.

"He was was full of ambition - had a promising future when tragedy hit," his uncle said.

One by one, speakers including NFL hall of famer Bruce Smith took the podium, begging for answers from the City of Virginia Beach.

"This is heartbreaking. There is a real terror that we live in as Americans has been devastating," said Smith.

Superstar Pharrell Williams, Donovon's cousin, was fighting back tears.

"Be patient with me. I am not that strong," said Williams. "Although Donovon's body laid in street an inhumane amount of time, his spirit got up."

Williams, using his visibility as a call to action to the city he grew up in.

"Virginia Beach, you need to talk. You need to talk about issues, struggles, misinformation, mis-characterizations," said Williams.

Political activist, national speaker and well-known Bishop William Barber delivered the eulogy, echoing Williams' sentiments.

"There must be a mandate for truth, half-truths and lies. Guessing can't satisfy," said Barber. "When body cameras are not on, we must ask why in time of which we live in."

At this Celebration of Life, Barber and others communed the challenges Black men in America face.

"No matter what color the officers are, there must be full complete federal investigation," said Barber.

Virginia State Police are now investigating the officer-involved shooting. Police said Lynch was brandishing a gun before a veteran officer shot him; however, the family says he was legally allowed to carry that weapon.

Related: Virginia State Police looking for witnesses in officer-involved shooting of Donovon Lynch