CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A game that takes its players on an athletic adventure may have led one Virginia man to his death.
According to the attorney representing his family, 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen of Chesapeake was playing Pokémon Go on Thursday when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood security guard.
“I did not want the public to misunderstand Mr. Chen,” said attorney Greg Sandler, who believes the incident escalated partially because of a language barrier.
Sandler says Chen showed up to the clubhouse in the River Walk neighborhood of Chesapeake because there is a Pokémon Go gym at that location.
Sandler says Chen played Pokémon Go to bond with his grandchildren.
“I cannot imagine what could have justified shooting through the front windshield of Mr. Chen’s van five times,” Sandler told News 3 Monday morning.
While Chen was gaming, he was allegedly approached by a security guard for the neighborhood. According to police, a confrontation ensued and Chen was shot and killed.
“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.”
According to Chen’s brother, the 60-year-old grandfather only spoke basic English words like ‘sorry’ and ‘bye’.
“I speak a little bit of English. He, nothing,” the brother told reporters on Friday.
News 3 found that there was a Pokémon ‘gym’ at the River Walk clubhouse.
Sandler explained that a gym is different from catching Pokemon. “A gym requires you to stay put in one location so you can train your critters,” Sandler said.
In a statement, the River Walk Community Association said they “have a contract for unarmed roving patrol services”, so it is unclear why the security guard was armed with a gun.
The company that provided the security guard to the River Walk Community Association has not answered any requests for comment.
Police are not releasing the identity of the security guard because he has not been charged, but say the case is still active and under investigation.