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Va. leaders urge thorough investigation into Pokémon GO player’s death

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Three Virginia Congressmen have called for a thorough investigation into the death of a 60-year-old grandfather said to be playing Pokémon GO when he was allegedly shot five times by a security guard.

Jiansheng Chen of Chesapeake died from multiple gunshot wounds around 11 p.m. Jan. 26, in the Chesapeake River Walk neighborhood.

The family’s attorney said Chen was parked outside the clubhouse, a virtual gym in the Pokémon GO game where players fight and collect points.

River Walk Club House

River Walk Club House

The security guard has not been identified since he is not charged with a crime. The shooting does remain under investigation.

The homeowner’s association contracts with a security company to patrol the area. That association said in a statement released to WTKR that they contract “unarmed roving patrol services for the common areas of the community.”

The security company never responded to a media request for comment, but almost two weeks later had attorney Andrew Sacks offer a public statement.

The security guard said he feared for his life, and he opened fire as a blue van drove toward him. The attorney said the security company has documentation to prove that Chen and other relatives of his were told on several occasions that they were barred from private property, reported WTKR.

Jiansheng Chen of Chesapeake died from multiple gunshot wounds around 11 p.m. Jan. 26, in the Chesapeake River Walk neighborhood.

Jiansheng Chen of Chesapeake died from multiple gunshot wounds around 11 p.m. Jan. 26, in the Chesapeake River Walk neighborhood.

“I cannot imagine what could have justified shooting through the front windshield of Mr. Chen’s van five times,” said Chen’s family attorney, Greg Sandler, in an interview with WTKR.

According to Chen’s brother, Chen only spoke basic English words like ‘sorry’ and ‘bye’. His brother, who owns Royal China, said he last saw Chen at the restaurant around 10 p.m. and then never heard from him again.

“His family is a homeowner in the area,” said Sandler. “Ironically, he is one of the people security is supposed to be protecting as a homeowner.”

More than two weeks have passed since Chen was shot.

U.S. Representatives Donald McEachin (VA-04), Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Grace Meng (NY-06) issued the following statement on Tuesday, Feb. 14:

We are deeply saddened over the death of Jiansheng Chen. We are also concerned about the manner and circumstances in which he lost his life. Many questions remain and need to be answered, and we call on local authorities to conduct their investigation thoroughly and expeditiously. We must know how a game of Pokémon Go turned into a fatal shooting.

It is our hope that Congress will act in a bipartisan manner to ensure law enforcement personnel receive high quality, evidence-based training in non-lethal de-escalation tactics. We must continue to work together to emphasize the need for reasonable and effective polices that reflect our nation’s moral obligation to keep our communities safe.

At this difficult time, we send our thoughts and prayers to the Chen family, and we eagerly await further information from law enforcement about this tragic incident.

People have started petitions and written letters, calling for an investigation.

People have started petitions and written letters, calling for an investigation.

There have also been protests, a Facebook page, and a petition demanding justice in Chen's death. In addition to the petition signatures, 101 organizations also signed a letter demanding answers. This letter was sent to the Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Chief of Police, the mayor, the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia’s Attorney General, and to Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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