Christopher Schurr — a Grand Rapids, Michigan, police officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head April 4 — has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced Thursday.
Lyoya, who was 26 at the time of his shooting, was a Congolese refugee. His death sparked protests in Grand Rapids, Detroit and elsewhere over the police department’s conduct with the city’s Black residents and prompted discussions over the city’s commitment to racial equity, something it had pledged to improve in the wake of racial injustice protests in 2020.
Schurr, who had been with the Grand Rapids Police Department since 2015, was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting. Police Chief Eric Winstrom confirmed Schurr’s name to the public on April 25.
Footage released April 13 by police shows Schurr pulling Lyoya over the morning of April 4 in Grand Rapids. Lyoya, who appeared confused by what Schurr was saying, exited his vehicle, prompting Schurr to tell him to get back in and provide his driver’s license.
Lyoya ran away from Schurr, causing a chase through the front yards of nearby homes. Schurr eventually tackled Lyoya, the two struggled and Schurr could be heard telling Lyoya to “stop” and to “let go of the Taser,” in the footage. Schurr’s stun gun was deployed twice but never made contact.
After about 90 seconds, Schurr was on top of Lyoya, who was facedown on the ground. Schurr, still yelling “let go of the Taser!” shot Lyoya in the back of the head.
The shooting was investigated by the Michigan State Police, which forwarded its investigation to Becker.
In addition to protests calling for Schurr to be charged over the shooting, Lyoya’s family, attorneys and national figures like Rev. Al Sharpton had called for Schurr to be charged.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Source: GANNETT Syndication Service