Grand Rapids officer charged with 2nd-degree murder in killing of Patrick Lyoya

The Grand Rapids officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head during a traffic stop in April has been charged with second-degree murder. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced the decision in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. He didn’t offer much detail into what went into the decision regarding evidence.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head during a traffic stop in April has been charged with second-degree murder.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced the decision in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. He didn’t offer much detail into what went into the decision regarding evidence.

Second-degree murder is a murder charge that is usually defined as not premeditated, or murder that is caused by the offender’s reckless conduct that displays an obvious lack of concern for human life. It’s less severe than first-degree murder.

The officer, Christopher Schurr, has turned himself in and will be arraigned on charges on Friday.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement Thursday afternoon in response to the charging decision in the Patrick Lyoya case:

“At the Department of Attorney General, we understand the exceptional resources needed to evaluate police-involved shooting deaths and I commend Prosecutor Becker, his team and the Michigan State Police for the exhaustive review conducted these last two months. We must now respect the judicial process and allow the facts of the case to be presented in court.”

Lyoya, 26, a refugee from Congo, was killed by Grand Rapids Officer Christopher Schurr after a traffic stop on April 4.

Schurr, who is white, told Lyoya that he stopped him because the license plate didn’t match the vehicle, according to video.

Lyoya began to run after he was asked for a driver’s license. Schurr quickly caught him, but the pair physically struggled across a front lawn in a residential neighborhood while Lyoya’s passenger recorded the scene on a phone.

Lyoya was on the ground when Schurr shot him. He had demanded that Lyoya take his hand off the officer’s Taser, video showed.

Schurr, who has been on leave since the shooting, has not talked publicly about what happened.

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Peter Lyoya, Patrick Lyoya’s father, watched Thursday’s decision alongside the family’s attorney, Ven Johnson, here in Detroit.

Speaking through the family’s pastor and translator, here’s what he said just moments ago after the announcement.

“Patrick is not coming back,” said Peter Lyoya. “I’m never going to see him again. And to show at this point that the police officer would be charged, that brings a little bit of consolation to our family because we see everybody that will support us; Everybody will stand by us. They did a good job to get this kind of justice.”

Related: Patrick Lyoya’s father reacts to decision to charge Grand Rapids officer with 2nd-degree murder

Grand Rapids police department holds a conference about the conviction of the officer that fatally shot Patrick Lyoya

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.