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Celebration of life held in Virginia Beach for Donovon Lynch

A police officer shot and killed Lynch. Pharrell Williams, Lynch's cousin, spoke at the funeral and told the city it needed to talk about its issues and struggles.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Family members and friends gathered Monday morning to hold a memorial service for Donovon Lynch.

Lynch was the man who was fatally shot by a Virginia Beach police officer on March 26 at the Oceanfront. 

It was one of a series of shootings that took place that night. In one other shooting, eight people were hurt. In another, 29-year-old Deshayla Harris was killed after being struck by a stray bullet.

The celebration of life for Lynch was held at Wave Church's Great Neck campus.

Lynch's cousin and Grammy Award-winning artist Pharrell Williams was at the service where he made remarks about Lynch and the Virginia Beach community. 

He referenced the service's closeness to Easter in his eulogy.

"[Lynch] was a servant. Him and his family served at Faith World Ministries, all servants of God," Pharrell said. "Virginia Beach, you need to talk. Talk about your issues, talk about your struggles so we can get past them. The misinformation. The mischaracterizations. It took our mayor a week to reach out to this family. We must do better. We can do better. I propose that we have a forum. The city of Virginia Beach, who we were, who we are and who we'd like to be. God is the greatest. If he got up, so can Virginia Beach."

Hundreds of people came to the service, including 20 people who traveled all the way from California. James and Rochelle Akins said Lynch lived with them in northern California for three years and they treated him like a second son.

"Just an excellent young, excellent young man," said Rochelle Akins. 

"The love that we had for him... it feels like a piece of our heart has been ripped away, and it's tough," said James Akins.

After the service at Wave Church, family and friends carried Lynch's casket through the parking lot and down the street, chanting "Justice for Donovon Lynch" and repeating his name.

There are still questions surrounding what happened that night at the Oceanfront between Lynch and the officer who shot him.

The officer's body camera wasn't activated, so there's no footage of the encounter. Police also confirmed through interviews with two officers and a witness that Lynch had a gun on him, but there's no information at this point on whether Lynch was actively threatening the officer before he was shot and killed.

The investigation has been turned over to the Virginia State Police.

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