Community signs petition for grandfather shot and killed by security guard

A memorial for Jiansheng Chen at the River Walk Community in Chesapeake. A vigil was held Feb. 5, 2017, for Chen, who was shot and killed in a confrontation with a security guard in late January. Photo courtesy of Jinying Ye-Germond

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Authorities have been mum about the case of the shooting death of a 60-year-old man since it happened in the River Walk neighborhood. But there’s a group that has marched thousands of signatures into city hall, demanding the shooter be arrested.

Jiansheng Chen was shot during an altercation with a guard outside of a clubhouse in the River Walk community on Jan. 26. There are conflicting stories on what happened. Now, there’s a push from a third side for some answers in the form of a petition circulating online.

The attorney for Chen’s family says the former chef was playing Pokemon Go when he was shot in his minivan.

However, the attorney for the security company, Citywide Protection Services, says the guard acted in self-defense when he shot Chen outside the River Walk Clubhouse.

The investigation continues and the name of the guard hasn’t been released.

Harry Zhang, president of the local chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, says the news is beyond upsetting.

“We want justice for Mr. Chen,” said Zhang. “I signed the petition. We want to prosecute the killer with the highest degree of charges permitted by the law.”

Zhang says he didn’t know Chen, but his death has affected him and his community.

“We talk to so many people and whenever they heard the story they say, ‘How can that happen?'”

Zhang and others delivered a hard copy of the petition to the Commonwealth’s Attorney. He says Nancy Parr wasn’t in her office. She told 10 On Your Side that she received the information and she will make decision on the case once the criminal investigation is complete.

Read the petition

“Everyone is waiting for the next action taken by the police or by the Commonwealth’s Attorney,” said Zhang.

Attorney Andrew Sacks told 10 On Your Side last week that the guard acted in self-defense when he shot Chen.

During a news conference on Monday, Sacks elaborated on that claim. He said that the guard tried to confront Chen, who was in an area he had been previously barred from for trespassing after hours.

“Rather than stop, we are advised that the driver of the van, Individual A [Chen], directed the vehicle towards the officer who attempted to get out of the way and requested that the driver stop,” Sacks said.

The security guard then reportedly pulled a gun.

“Ultimately, faced with a situation in which he could not safely escape the oncoming van headed straight for him, the security guard, out of total necessity, and in reasonable fear for his life and safety, fired in an effort to stop and repel the threat to his life and safety,” Sacks said.

Read: Statement from attorney for Citywide Protection Services

Family members say Chen did not speak any English. Greg Sandler, an attorney for the Chen family, claims Chen was playing the popular smart phone game Pokemon Go prior to the confrontation.

“He was engaged in playing this game, because the River Walk Community Center is a gym in the program,” Sandler says. “He engages in this game to keep up with his grandchildren.”

Sacks called the shooting a tragedy, but stated that evidence will show his client shot Chen as a last resort.

The guard was employed by a private security company, Citywide Protection Services, Inc.

In a statement issued Jan. 30, the River Walk Community Association said it has a contract for “unarmed roving patrol services.” However, Sacks said Monday that the guard was allowed to be armed per Virginia regulations and the security contract.