April 21, 2021

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3 men charged in Virginia Beach shootings appear in court

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Three men who were charged in shootings that left several people injured during a chaotic weekend along Virginia Beach’s oceanfront made their first court appearances via video on Monday. Two other weekend shooting incidents claimed two lives.

Virginia Beach Judge Sandra S. Menago went over the charges for Ahmon Jahree Adams, 22, of Chesapeake, Virginia; Nyquez Tyyon Baker, 18, of Virginia Beach; and Devon Maurice Dorsey Jr., 20, of Virginia Beach.

Each man faces seven counts of malicious wounding and related charges. They remain in jail without bond and will have bail hearings in the coming days after talking to their respective attorneys.

Authorities said the men were involved in what appeared to be the first of three separate shooting incidents late Friday along a densely packed strip of hotels, clubs and restaurants. Another shooting that night left a woman dead who likely was an innocent bystander, authorities said. They add a third incident led to a police officer fatally shooting a man, both of them Black.

Investigators believe the first of the shootings, for which the three men are charged, stemmed from a fight involving a group of people, the Virginia Beach Police Department said in a statement.

Baker, one of the men who was charged, told the judge during his court appearance that he was unable to talk to his family because he “was in the hole” and felt like he was “getting tortured.”

Kathy Hieatt, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, said all newly admitted inmates are quarantined for 14 days as a COVID-19 precaution. And Baker was not placed in the jail’s disciplinary housing, which is colloquially called “the hole,” she said.

Hieatt added that Baker has made more than 40 phone calls, although they weren’t successful for reasons such as Baker hanging up or his call not being accepted. He also had a visit with his attorney on Monday, she said.

Meanwhile, the police department is also investigating the two fatal shootings that occurred that night.

Police initially said Saturday that an officer “encountered an armed citizen” and fatally shot Donovon W. Lynch, 25. Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate said later that Saturday that investigators found a firearm “in the vicinity” of the shooting.

The department said it could offer more clarity on Monday evening after interviewing the officer who shot Lynch and another officer who saw the shooting. Both said Lynch had a handgun, police stated in a news release.

The release added that a “separate, independent witness corroborated that Mr. Lynch was in possession of a handgun earlier on the evening of March 26, 2021.”

Lynch, a Virginia Beach resident, was an offensive lineman for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise during the 2017 and 2018 seasons and a 2019 graduate of the school.

The police chief had said Saturday that the officer who killed Lynch was wearing a body camera. But the chief said that “for unknown reasons,” it was not activated.

“We would like to provide the community answers. At this point we do not have them,” the police chief said.

Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, posted on Twitter that Lynch was his cousin.

“It is critical my family and the other victims’ families get the transparency they deserve. VA Beach is the epitome of hope and we will get through this,” Williams said in his tweet.

The officer who shot Lynch has been placed on administrative leave, police said. He has been with the department for five years and is assigned to its special operations division.

Also killed in a separate shooting was Deshayla E. Harris, 28, of Norfolk. Investigators believe Harris likely was a bystander struck by stray gunfire. No arrests were immediately made in her death.

The Virginia Beach chapter of the NAACP said in a statement Sunday that it was distressed by the shootings of Lynch and Harris and “not surprised” that the body camera belonging to the officer who shot Lynch was not activated.

“We are watching and listening for the department’s inquiry into this shooting and expect a thorough and expeditious report,” the NAACP’s statement said. “The community is waiting!”

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