The death of Jiansheng Chen has prompted nearly 6,000 people to sign petitions against the security guard who allegedly shot the 60-year-old Chinese man on January 26 in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Chen was gunned down after an unspecified argument broke out with a neighborhood security guard while the grandfather was playing Pokémon Go outside of the neighborhood clubhouse in River Walk.
Andrew Sacks, an attorney for Citywide Protection Services, said in a statement that a company guard shot Chen in self-defense when the elderly man tried to run him over.
No charges have been filed and the guard’s name has not been released.
Harry Zhang, president of the Organization of Chinese Americans, Eastern Virginia chapter, told the Virginian-Pilot that a number of petitions have been created, including a local petition and a change.org campaign that has garnered about 6,000 signatures so far.
A portion of the petitions were delivered by supporters on Monday to the office of Commonwealth Attorney Nancy Parr.
“We want to push the case forward,” said Zhang, and added that supporters want justice for Chen and for prosecutors to “hear the voice from the community.”
He also wanted to give Parr a letter signed by him and three others from a group of local Chinese Americans and community organizations, asking for a town hall meeting.
“We would like to work with the police department on a protocol in dealing with situations where there are language barriers,” the letter reads.
In a statement to WTKR, Sacks said:
“I understand and appreciate the fact that people would be sympathetic to a member of their community. It is not the ethnicity of the person at issue, but the conduct of the person at issue. Everything points to this being an unfortunate but necessary use of force to prevent the security guard from being run over and killed, or seriously injured.”
According to police spokeswoman Officer Kelly Elliott, two supporters also met with police Chief Kelvin Wright, who said the case is still under investigation and that police and prosecutors will have an update when it is done.
“The Chen family certainly appreciates the love and support they are receiving from the Chinese community in their time of need and in their search for justice,” an attorney for the Chen family, James Broccoletti, said in a statement. “We also look forward to working with the Chesapeake Police Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in that search for justice for Mr. Chen.”
Another letter signed by 101 organizations — such as the American Chinese Heritage Association and American Chinese Culinary Federation — demanded a “thorough, fair, and transparent investigation.”
It was addressed 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.