Detroit Evening Report: Grand Rapids officer will stand trial in shooting death of Patrick Lyoya

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Former Grand Rapids police officer Christopher Schurr will stand trial for the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya last spring.

Kent County Judge Nicholas Ayoub ruled Monday that Schurr will face charges of second-degree murder.

“(T)here is at least some evidence from which a person of average intelligence could conclude that defendant’s shooting of Lyoya in the back of the head was not reasonably necessary to prevent his escape,” Ayoub wrote in his 11-page opinion. “As the prosecutor suggests, at the instant that the shot is fired, Lyoya is not in a position of actively escaping or fleeing. A reasonable juror could find a lack of necessity for deadly force strictly for the purpose of preventing escape.”

Schurr stopped Lyoya in April for driving a car with the wrong license plate. Cell phone video shows Schurr chasing Lyoya, the two wrestling, and Lyoya reaching for a taser before Schurr shoots him in the back of the head while he lays face down on the ground.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker expects the defense to appeal Ayoub’s ruling and that the trial will likely take place next year.

“I felt the pain I felt the first time when I saw (how) my son was killed,” Patrick Lyoya’s father, Peter, told the Detroit Free Press through a translator. “I didn’t have the strength. My wife also was crying, she didn’t have the strength.

“I’m just praying to God to give us the strength and to keep directing the people who are helping us.”

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  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.