Grand Rapids officer charged with murder in Lyoya’s death

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said there was enough evidence to proceed with one count of second-degree murder. 

Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr will be charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Patrick Lyoya.

The charge comes two months after Lyoya’s death and following a two-month Michigan State Police investigation.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced the decision Thursday afternoon. Becker said Schurr turned himself in and he will likely be arraigned in 61st District Court in Grand Rapids on Friday.

“Taking a look at everything that I reviewed in this case, I believe there’s a sufficient basis to proceed on a single count of second-degree murder and that charge has been filed with the courts as of today,” Becker said.

Attorney Ben Crump, center, said the prosecutor’s announcement on Thursday was a crucial step forward in the right direction.

Ben Crump, one of the attorneys representing the Lyoya family, said Thursday they were encouraged by the prosecutor’s announcement.

“While the road to justice for Patrick and his family has just begun, this decision is a crucial step in the right direction,” Crump said. “Officer Schurr must be held accountable for his decision to pursue an unarmed Patrick, ultimately shooting him in the back of the head and killing him –  for nothing more than a traffic stop.”

Schurr shot Lyoya in the back of the head following a struggle over the officer’s Taser during a traffic stop on April 4. At the time of the fatal shot, Lyoya is seen on video face down on the ground with Schurr on his back.

Post-mortem toxicology reports showed Lyoya was drunk at the time of his death, but it’s unknown if Schurr knew that at the time or if it affected the officer’s behavior toward Lyoya.

Becker said manslaughter will also be a lesser charge that a jury could consider but said the evidence supports a charge of second-degree murder.

“Manslaughter will be a lesser included offense,” he said. “The difference in manslaughter is a heat of passion. There’s some sort of provocation with heat of passion. So that is something we took a look at. I felt based on the evidence I reviewed, I think a second-degree murder charge is appropriate.”

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  • Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.