VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Virginia Beach police officer responsible for the fatal shooting of Donovon Lynch has responded to the lawsuit filed by Lynch's family.
Lynch was fatally shot by Virginia Beach Officer Simmons on March 26 while multiple shootings were happening at the Oceanfront.
Lynch's family filed a lawsuit seeking $50 million in damages as well as a trial by jury. The lawsuit filed by the family claims Officer Simmons failed to attempt to stop or otherwise determine the identity of Mr. Lynch prior to firing his police-issued firearm. The complaint filed also mentions that the officer failed to turn on body-worn camera and failed to render aid.
In response to the lawsuit, Officer Simmons has admitted that he did shoot Lynch but denies the allegation that the shooting was unlawful. In an Answer and Grounds of Defense complaint, Simmons states he acted reasonably and with appropriate lethal force under the circumstances of his encounter with Lynch.
Officer Simmons states that during the time of the Oceanfront shooting incidents he heard what sounded to him like the slide of a handgun placing a bullet into the chamber. He states he turned in the direction of the sound and saw Lynch crouching behind shrubbery.
Officer Simmons states that he called out and Lynch stood up and turned with a gun in his hand and pointed in Officer Simmons’ direction, according to the court documents.
Officer Simmons admits that he then fired his gun and that two shots struck Lynch. Simmons claims that at the time he discharged his weapon he feared for his life and the lives of other officers and citizens in the vicinity.
According to the motion filed by Simmons, it states Lynch contributed to his death by the following: (a) entering into an active shooting zone, (b) crouching unannounced behind shrubbery, (c) arming himself with a weapon, (d) placing a bullet into the chamber of the weapon during an active shooting situation, (e) rising and turning toward a police officer with the loaded weapon in hand, a bullet in the chamber, pointed at police officers, (f) all while, on information and belief, Mr. Lynch was under the influence of alcohol.
In regards to Simmons' body camera not being turned on the statement reads, "from the time he left his police cruiser to the time of Mr. Lynch’s shooting there existed the threat of deadly force on which Officer Simmons’ attention was focused, as Officer Simmons was proceeding in the direction of ongoing gunfire as part of an attempt to protect the general public and with firsthand knowledge that civilians had been shot having rendered aid to one such shooting victim earlier that evening."
The City of Virginia Beach filed a motion last week to dismiss the family of Donovon Lynch's lawsuit.