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A 60-year-old grandfather left his house in Virginia Thursday night to play Pokemon Go, but never made it back after being shot to death allegedly by a security officer, according to the victim’s family attorney.
The incident unfolded on Jan. 26 in Chesapeake, Virginia, after Jiansheng Chen dropped his sister-in-law off at home, family attorney Greg Sandler told NBC News. Chen then told his brother he planned to go out to play Pokemon Go — a GPS-based virtual reality game — and left in his van around 10:30 p.m., according to Sandler.
A retiree who spent his adult life in the Chinese restaurant business, Chen enjoyed the game as a way to engage with his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren, Sandler said.
Chen’s brother grew concerned after calling him a number of times and not hearing back, according to the family attorney. When he went out to find his brother, he soon came upon the police scene with Chen’s minivan shot multiple times, Sandler said.
"It is obviously my client’s hope that an arrest will be made and decided upon and that this person will be brought to justice because the circumstances are just so egregious that no one can understand how this happened.”
Chen had been in his car, parked outside a clubhouse, playing the game on his phone, according to Sandler.
“The information that we have seen at the van and learned from a couple of people who either saw or heard various parts of this indicated that the security person was standing in front of the van and fired somewhere between five and 10 shots directly through the driver’s front windshield of the van,” Sandler said. “Mr. Chen was killed instantly.”
Sandler added that Chen’s command of English was “very, very limited.”
Chesapeake Police Department spokeswoman Officer Kelly Elliott told NBC News Wednesday that no one had been charged yet in connection with the shooting. Elliott said Chen was not armed with a weapon and that, according to family members, his English was limited.
Asked about reports of an altercation between the two, Elliott said, “I can’t give out specifics, but the security guard had went to talk with him. There was not a physical altercation. There was a disagreement.”
She added that the investigation remained ongoing. “They are just looking at all the layout, the forensics, the statements and what have you,” Elliott said.
The security guard, who reportedly works for Citywide Protection Services according to NBC affiliate WAVY, was not identified by police. A woman who answered the phone at the company referred comment to an attorney and spokesman. He did not immediately return a voicemail left Tuesday night.
The River Walk Community Association released a statement to WAVY on Monday. "The River Walk Community Association does have a contract for unarmed roving patrol services for the common areas of the community," it reportedly read. "We are fully cooperating with authorities investigating the incident that took place just outside association property.”
Sandler said he was not ruling out a wrongful death lawsuit, depending on what evidence is available.
“It is obviously my client’s hope that an arrest will be made and decided upon and that this person will be brought to justice because the circumstances are just so egregious that no one can understand how this happened,” he said.
In a statement released by their lawyer, Chen's family called him a "wise and caring" man who stopped going to school after the sixth grade to work and support his family. He was the first member of his family to immigrate to the United States from China, the statement said, saving money to send for the rest.