Family sues Portsmouth officer in shooting death

Posted to: Crime News Portsmouth


Attorneys representing the estate of an unarmed Kazakh national shot by a police officer filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Friday.

The lawsuit names Officer Stephen D. Rankin and says he is being sued as an individual and in his capacity as a Portsmouth officer. The suit seeks $22 million.

Rankin was responding to a burglary call in the city's Olde Towne area April 23 when he confronted Kirill Denyakin, 26, outside the Green Street apartment building where Denyakin was living with a friend.

Denyakin did not comply with commands, and Rankin opened fire after Denyakin charged or lunged toward him, the Police Department has said. The lawsuit alleges that Rankin fired 15 times - striking Denyakin 11 times - and should have known that Denyakin did not pose a threat of serious physical harm to anyone. The lawsuit says Denyakin did not make threatening movements.

A neighbor called 911 after Denyakin began loudly banging on the door of the building at 454 Green St. A toxicology test later showed his blood alcohol content to be 0.28, more than three times the legal limit for driving.

He is survived by his mother, Yelena Denyakina; his father, Ivan Denyakin; and his brother, Roman Denyakin, the lawsuit says.

Rankin is on administrative duty while Virginia State Police investigate the shooting. Also under review are postings from his Facebook page under the handle "Steve Danger Rankin" that were discovered after the shooting, including a profile image of a man hanging from a noose and comments in which Rankin referred to his gun box as a "box of vengeance" and said he would rather be emptying weapons than cleaning them.

Rankin has been a Portsmouth police officer for 3-1/2 years.

Denyakin, nicknamed "KGB" by friends, was a cook at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and had worked there for several years. After his death, friends, including the executive chef at the hotel, expressed shock that he could have been involved in such an incident.

"Mr. Denyakin had no criminal background," said Carlton F. Bennett, one of the lawyers who filed the suit. "He was here legally."

Ali Sprinkle, an attorney representing Rankin while the shooting is investigated, had no comment on the civil lawsuit.

Jason Knorowski, president of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association and its local Southeast Chapter, said such lawsuits are "typical in any kind of officer-involved shooting regardless of what the circumstances are."

He said all the facts aren't yet known.

"It's not fair to the officer to Monday morning quarterback," he said.

Portsmouth City Attorney G. Timothy Oksman was not available for comment.

Patrick Wilson, (757) 222-3893, patrick.wilson@pilotonline.com


Document: The lawsuit



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New Post: Unfortunately it

New Post:

Unfortunately it appears that WEATHERFREAKS former anti Rankin rhetoric has degraded into reposting snippets from HATE SITES that call themselves media in Kazakhstan.

I encourage all readers to boycott "WEATHERFREAK" and to demand that he and "Dany Donovan's posts be removed and they and their originating IP address be banned from posting here in the future.


I want to remind folks that

I want to remind folks that July 16th Starting around 9AM we will be holding our second and hopefully equally as successful "RALLY4RANKIN" to show our support for Portsmouth Police Officer Steven Rankin.

This event will go a bit longer....till 7PM and will occur at the intersection of High Street and Frederick Blvd.

All are encouraged to attend....just be sure to bring a lawn chair,sunscreen,cooler,food drink,poster board with your message of choice and dress appropriately...T-Shirt and shorts are fine but we discourage sandals only because we found that feet need support for standing.

This event is family friendly and Firearm Friendly (in compliance with law)

We will also have a large poster for folks to send Officer Rankin messages

Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Personal attack, name calling

Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation.

to the moderator

any chance we could get rid of some of these "comment deleted" notifications? its getting pretty difficult to read.

To the Staff/Moderator

Larry Gump would like for an investigator to view my comments and replies, for possible interference, and or arrest. Will you PLEASE re-post them for their viewing? And along with them, Larry Gump's personnal attacks on my comments and replies. I'm OK with it.

ahahahahahahahahaha We


We discussed interfering with an investigation....wow that makes me laugh

WeatherFreak....you and I both know that the only way you could be interfering is by encouraging folks to engage in activities that might damage evidence or cause a witness to change their story.

Unfortunately your right your posts WERE deleted...I think some others agreed your posts seemed to be heading in that direction...

Bill Watson called for my arrest after I asked for City Council to look into a concern I had. I was furious and felt he had violated my First amendment right to freely express or complain about something I observed and did not approve of or like.

IF you feel I did the same I honestly apologize...I misstated my advice

No Larry my replies

VP removed YOUR comments and replies, and my replies to you. There was nothing wrong with my replies, they were automatically removed because of what you said. Hence the comments removed for "Personal Attacks."

Ahahaha is also rather juvenile and rediculous.

no...you got ripped too. I

no...you got ripped too.

I think the pilot is getting nervous at some of the accusations being thrown around...I knew better than to use any silly names but that's my style. I have a sailors mouth and that's not gonna change.

Anyway if you cant laugh "ahahaha" I cant help ya...life's to short to be angry all the time or take yourself so seriously.

I feel I've successfully managed your misinformation WeatherFreak...most have just selected to place you in the ignore section. As shocked as I am I kept my cool with you...even in light of your arrogance and spewing of vitriol.

It's up to the State Police and Commonwealths Attorney from here...if the family wants to push the fed's to get involved then so be that too.

in defense of Kirill

I believe most of us would not agree with you - the poster is certainly not arrogant, nor spewing of vitriol. He is quite logical and rational in his postings.

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