Police shooting of Pharrell Williams’ cousin ruled homicide in autopsy report


Pharrell Williams’ cousin — who was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer earlier this year — died by homicide, according to an autopsy report exclusively obtained by The Post.

A state grand jury investigation into 25-year-old Donovon Lynch’s death has now been launched, according to a source and documents. The grand jury is scheduled to meet in September.

While the autopsy found that Lynch’s death was a homicide, no criminal charges have been filed in the case to date.

Court documents revealed that Lynch suffered two gunshot wounds. He had been pronounced dead at the scene.

The decision to escalate the case to a grand jury is a small victory for the Lynch family, which has been seeking justice for Donovon over the past few months.

Williams, 48, has advocated on his late cousin’s behalf, calling for a federal probe into the killing back in April. The Grammy-winning producer said at the time there were “too many unanswered city and state questions.” 

Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams

In June, Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, filed a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit that claimed Virginia Beach city cop Solomon Simmons III shot his son “unlawfully and without warning” in response to a shooting Donovon had no part of back in March.

Virginia Beach Police had previously accused Donovon of “brandishing a handgun at the time of the shooting.”

“An independent witness corroborated that Mr. Lynch was in possession of a handgun earlier on the evening of March 26,” the department said in a statement.

But Donovan’s friend, Darrion Marsh, who was there the night of the incident, has disputed the claim, telling the Washington Post in July that he “did not see Lynch pull out a gun before he was shot and that Simmons opened fire without warning as Marsh and Lynch retreated to their car following two earlier shootings that left one dead and eight injured.”

Marsh said he and Donovan were not involved in the violence that occurred earlier in the night and had prompted the police response.

Donovon Lynch
Pharrell Williams called for a federal probe into his cousin Donovon Lynch’s killing.

In August, Donovon’s grieving father filed an amended complaint that alleged Simmons “moved [Lynch’s] body around the area, contributing to his death.”

Wayne also called out Simmons for not having his body camera activated at the time, stating “no reasonable, appropriately trained officer would have” left his device off.

Lawyer Alex Spiro, who represents the Lynch family, declined to comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.