VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The City of Virginia Beach has made a new filing with the courts in the wrongful death case of Donovon Lynch.
The 25-year-old was shot dead during a chaotic night at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in March 2021. His family is now battling the officer who killed him, and the city in court.
New details on the case came out earlier this month. According to court documents obtained by News 3, federal judge Arenda Wright-Allen said the Lynch family has enough evidence to move forward with their claim that Virginia Beach Police officer Solomon Simmons, who shot Lynch, was improperly trained, leading to his death.
The city has now filed a response to the court. According to court documents, the city says Lynch contributed to his own death by having a gun and entering an active shooting zone.
According to the court documents, the city admits that Solomon Simmons (“Officer Simmons”) shot Donovon, but denies the allegation that the shooting was unlawful, as "Officer Simmons acted reasonably and with appropriate lethal force under the circumstances of his encounter with Mr. Lynch."
The city claims there is "no direct causal link between any alleged deficiencies in training, practices, policies and customs of the Virginia Beach Police Department and any alleged constitutional injury in this matter."
According to the documents, the City of Virginia Beach claims Lynch was negligent by entering an active shooting situation, crouching unannounced behind shrubbery, having a gun, placing a bullet into the chamber during an active shooting situation, rising and turning toward police officers with the loaded weapon. The city claims Lynch was under the influence of alcohol.
The Lynch family is seeking $50 million in the wrongful death suit.
Donovon's father, Wayne, blasted the city, saying he feels like police and city leaders are trying to smear his son's reputation.
"They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Wayne Lynch said.
Refuting the city's claims that Donovon was under the influence of alcohol, a spokesperson for the Lynch family says the autopsy report shows his blood alcohol level was below Virginia's legal limit. Additionally, Wayne Lynch says the implication that his son was drunk is a "low blow" and "an outrageous attempt to deflect Officer Simmons' mistakes."
The Lynch family maintains that Donovon's blood alcohol level is not an issue because "he didn't murder someone," and notes that Simmons' BAC has yet to be disclosed.
"We will get justice for Donovon," Wayne said in a statement.
Two weeks after a federal judge said the Lynch family’s $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Virginia Beach could move forward, the city responded by shamelessly blaming 25-year-old Donovon Lynch for his own death.
With the one-year mark of Donovon’s death just four days away, his father, Wayne Lynch, says he feels like police and city leaders are thrashing his son’s reputation.
“They killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation,” he said.
In its response, the city claims that based on information and belief, Donovon “was under the influence of alcohol”. However, the former lineman’s autopsy report shows his blood alcohol level was only 0.006 %, below Virginia’s legal limit of 0.08%. Mr. Lynch says his son was 6’5 and 305 pounds and the implication he was drunk is a “low blow” and “an outrageous attempt to deflect Officer Simmons’ mistakes.”
Donovon’s blood alcohol level is not at issue- he didn’t murder someone. Officer Simmons’ BAC has YET TO BE DISCLOSED.
Mr. Lynch vows vindication and is promising to hold the City of Virginia Beach and Officer Solomon Simmons accountable for shooting and killing his son.
“We will get justice for Donovon."