Riverwalk HOA security guard charges upgraded to first degree murder

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Shocking news from Chesapeake, VA, following the shooting death of Jiansheng Chen, a resident of River Walk Community in January. According to WAVY-10 news, charges against Johnathan Cromwell have been upgraded to first-degree murder, and a trail date has been set for September 26.

A first-degree murder charge indicates that investigators and prosecutors believe the shooting was deliberate and premeditated.

The motive behind the alleged crime has not yet been made clear in recent reports.

At the time of the confrontation that led to the shooting, Chen was in his parked vehicle at the time, in front of the community club house, playing Pokemon Go.


Security guard now facing first-degree murder charge in deadly shooting

By Emily Satchell
Published: July 5, 2017, 3:42 pm Updated: July 6, 2017, 6:54 am

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A security guard accused of shooting and killing a man in the River Walk Community in January is now facing a first-degree murder charge, according to the Chesapeake Circuit Court.

Johnathan Cromwell was previously charged with second-degree murder in the death of Jiansheng Chen. The grand jury met Wednesday morning.

Chen was shot during an apparent confrontation with Cromwell on Jan. 26. Cromwell was patrolling the River Walk neighborhood on the night of the shooting.

Read more (Video):



Charges were upgraded from second-degree to first-degree murder following testimony before a Commonwealth Judge in February. WAVY reports that the Judge denied bail after learning that Cromwell asked a detective on the scene about the accuracy of his shooting.


Police: Security guard in deadly Chesapeake shooting asked about accuracy

By WAVY Web Staff
Published: February 27, 2017, 12:17 pm Updated: February 27, 2017, 6:37 pm

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The security guard charged in the fatal shooting of a 60-year-old man in late-January was denied bond in a court hearing Monday morning. A judge said the seriousness of the charge and the violence of the crime prevented him from allowing bail.

Twenty-one-year-old Johnathan Cromwell is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen.

WAVY’s Matt Gregory reports the judge denied Cromwell bond Monday based on the violence of the crime.

Chen was fatally shot outside of the River Walk community’s clubhouse on Jan. 26. Responding officers found Chen inside of a minivan with multiple gunshot wounds.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney gave new details on what happened. Police said Cromwell stopped Chen who was in a mini-van. Chen backed up his van and Cromwell got out of his car and shouted, “Stop!” Then he apparently shot Chen through the driver’s side window. Next, Cromwell moved to the front of the van and shot at Chen six more times through the windshield, according to authorities. He hit Chen with four shots in the chest. Then minutes later, Cromwell reportedly asked a detective on scene how accurate was his shooting.

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These latest developments once again call into question the wisdom of association-governed communities employing private security guards, rather than entering into an agreement with municipal or County Police Departments.

Residents should not have to fear that security guards in their own community would intentionally cause harm. Homeowners should not have to bear financial liability for their HOA’s decision to employ or contract with security staff that commit acts of crime.

As a matter of public safety, residents in River Walk should be entitled to the same level of publicly administered police services as their neighbors who do not live in planned communities.

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