Relatives of an immigrant grandfather killed while playing Pokemon Go mourned outside a Virginia courthouse amid court proceedings for the 23-year-old former security guard found guilty of shooting him to death.
“Not a single day went by without thinking about my uncle,” nephew Wenren Chen told WTKR ahead of the verdict. “It doesn’t matter how this jury goes or how the sentencing will be, nothing will bring him back.”
His 60-year-old uncle Jiansheng Chen was playing Pokemon Go in his minivan in January 2017 when he was fatally shot through the windshield by Johnathan Cromwell, then 21.
Chen was parked outside the Riverwalk Clubhouse in Chesapeake at the time, a known local “gym” players can go to compete in virtual battles. Chen’s family said he had picked up the game as a way to bond with his grandchildren.
Cromwell, an armed security guard for Citywide Protection Services LLC at the time, said he acted in self-defense. He said Chen had been warned about trespassing prior and feared Chen would mow him down with his car when he began driving away.
Cromwell said he called for Chen to stop, and when he didn’t, he open fired at the minivan, killing Chen.
Chen's family said he didn't speak much English and likely did not understand the command.
The jury found Cromwell guilty of second-degree murder and using a firearm to commit the murder and recommended he serve 30 years in prison for the charges.
His official sentencing will be held on June 24.