Investigation underway after Grand Rapids officer shoots, kills Patrick Lyoya: What we’ve learned

‘It’s an absolute tragedy, it’s heartbreaking’

The Grand Rapids Police Department released four videos that show one of its officers shooting and killing Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, during a confrontation earlier this month.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Police Department released four videos that show one of its officers shooting and killing Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, during a confrontation earlier this month.

The shooting happened on April 4 in Grand Rapids. Police said Lyoya tried to run away from an officer, the officer pursued, and there was a “lengthy” fight before Lyoya was shot in the head and killed.

Related: Grand Rapids police video shows officer’s fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya

Who is Patrick Lyoya?

Patrick Lyoya was 26 years old. He has two daughters and came to Michigan with his family while escaping violence in his home country. Lyoya has five younger siblings.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said Lyoya’s father described him as a “generous and caring man whom he wants to be remembered peacefully. Patrick was a loving father, a loyal friend, and a proud member of the Grand Rapids community who enjoyed sharing fellowship and culture with those around him.”

Who is the officer?

The identity of the officer has not been released. He is a seven-year veteran of the force and joined the department in 2015.

The officer was a couple hours into his shift when the shooting happened, police said. The officer is on paid leave and has been stripped of police powers pending the outcome of the investigation.

“When you’re in a traumatic event like that, you would respond how you think you would respond: Somebody pretty much in shock,” Grand Rapids police Chief Eric Winstrom said. “I’m sure I’m going to find ways the Grand Rapids Police Department can do things better and I’m interested in getting us there.”

Grand Rapids police share videos with public

Grand Rapids police held a press conference Wednesday (April 13) to share videos of the shooting with the public.

“It’s an absolute tragedy. It’s heartbreaking. It’s been a difficult time internally for the police department,” Winstrom said. “It’s prompted a lot of discussions and a lot of connections, which I planned to make down the road as I stayed here longer. But it’s forced the issue even early. So I’d like to think there is some positive.”

The video shows what appears to be a two-minute struggle between the officer and Lyoya. Winstrom said from his view of the video, it appears the officer and Lyoya each had a hand on the officer’s Taser for about 90 seconds. The Taser deployed twice, both times hitting the ground, the chief said.

The officer’s body camera turned off during the struggle. The chief said that happened due to pressure and was not intentional.

He also said he is not willing to draw any conclusions about the incident until the investigation is completed. He said he spoke with the officer on the scene and over the phone later that night.

Investigation underway

Michigan State Police and the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the incident. A decision on possible charges is not expected this week.

“The Michigan State Police will conduct a transparent, independent investigation of the shooting. Then, prosecutors must consider all the evidence, follow the law, and take appropriate action on charges. Justice is foundational to safety, and without justice, we are all less safe,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

Read: ‘The deep pain that too many have felt’: Michigan leaders release statements in fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.