Authorities have charged Virginia security guard Johnathan Cromwell with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of murder in the death of a 60-year-old Chinese grandfather Jiansheng Chen, reports 13News Now. Cromwell turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon.
Chen family attorney Greg Sandler said Chen went to the River Walk clubhouse parking lot to play Pokemon Go. “[Pokemon Go] was a way that he has found to relate to his nieces and nephews and his grandchildren,” said Sandler.
The statement reports that Cromwell, working for Citywide Protection Services, stopped his own vehicle in front of Chen’s vehicle, when Chen backed up to turn the van around the driveway entrance; Cromwell then exited his car and said “stop,” before allegedly firing, shooting the unarmed Chen five times.
Police stated there was a disagreement between the two men, and Sandler pointed to Chen’s limited command of English. Andrew Sacks, an attorney for Citywide Protection Services, claimed last week that Cromwell had fired in self-defense, stating that Chen drove his vehicle toward the security guard. “The Company continues to stand by its view, based on its investigation, that their employee’s actions were lawful and in self-defense,” Sacks said.
Representing the Chen family, attorney James Broccoletti said “they are very gratified that they are now one step closer to justice for their family and the Chinese community.”
Some Chinese American civil rights organizations and federally elected officials have been putting on the pressure since the incident, encouraging the prosecution of Cromwell. House Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Donald McEachin (D-VA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) issued a joint statement before Thursday expressing their concerns over the circumstances of the fatal incident.
“Finally we see the wheels of justice starting to turn, although slowly, but turn to the right direction,” said Harry Zhang, president of the Eastern Virginia chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, a group that has been assisting the Chen family through these difficult times.
(A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of times Chen was shot. We apologize for the error.)
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