GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Carlene Grassmid has refused to watch the video of the struggle that ended with the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya right next to her longtime home.
“It happened right here,” she said Friday, pointing to the spot just off her front porch. “It still breaks me up. It’s just so sad. So many lives were affected in such a negative way.”
She said she was sleeping when it happened on April 4 on Nelson Avenue just north of Griggs Street, in the Southeast Side neighborhood she has lived in and loved for 27 years.
“The place was aglow with police lights,” she said.
Lyoya’s body lay there as police investigated for hours, his legs and feet in her driveway, his upper torso in the yard.
She said she never saw Officer Christopher Schurr that morning.
“There was a lot of fright and I think there was fright on everyone’s part. I think just everyone was just frightened and confused,” Grassmid said.
She said it was her daughter-in-law who told her not to watch the video later released by police.
“She said it was really quite violent and she knows I don’t do well with that stuff, so I guess she wanted to spare me that,” she said.
She also wasn’t watching on Thursday as Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced in a televised press conference that he was charging Schurr with second-degree murder.
“I was worried both ways,” Grassmid said. “There’s just no happy ending to this story; there’s just no solution. You can’t change the past.”
She can’t shake it, either, she said.
“And I was really only marginally connected. I was connected only in space, but it’s profoundly affected me, my neighborhood,” she said. “We all talk about it.”
“It’s one of those tragedies that is still here. A lot of people don’t believe that people’s energy or whatever stays, but it seems like I could feel it.”
Shortly after the death, mourners started building a memorial at the trunk of a maple tree along the road out front — candles, teddy bears, flowers, signs. A friend of Lyoya’s asked for a favor.
“I made a commitment to her that I would try to keep the candles lit, and so I have,” Gassmid said.
Some of the candles she lit Thursday night were still flickering at noon Friday.
“This one just went out because the wax is still wet and the candle’s still warm,” she said, picking up the candle that she and two granddaughter’s made with Patrick’s name on it.
She planned to light it again Friday night.