GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Patrick Lyoya’s father says his family will never be the same and their pain and suffering has continued in the year since Lyoya was killed by a Grand Rapids police officer.
The shooting, which happened one year ago Tuesday, sparked weeks of protests, reform in the police department and a second-degree murder charge against former officer Christopher Schurr.
“It’s tearing me up,” Lyoya’s father Peter Lyoya told News 8 Tuesday, speaking with the aid of an interpreter. “I’m bleeding inside. I’m hurting. I’m in pain. My wife is in pain.”
Patrick Lyoya, 26, rests at a cemetery in Wyoming. His family was by his side Tuesday morning, visiting his gravesite on an emotional day. The mourning was especially difficult for Patrick Lyoya’s brothers and sisters.
“They looked how Patrick was buried. They asked the question, ‘Is Patrick still lay down here while the man who murdered him is free?’” Peter Lyoya said. “(I) had no words to express. (I) had nothing to tell them. You can tell they’re in pain, in very deep pain.”
Peter Lyoya said his children “cannot even speak.”
“Because it’s so painful to see that the man they lived with for 26 years is not there anymore,” he said. “It really hurts them and it’s hard for them to support each other sometime.”
The family is experiencing lasting sorrow and also anger as Schurr remains out on bail, awaiting trial for second-degree murder. The case has been delayed multiple times, frustrating the Lyoya family.
“The man who murdered my son is still at home, is eating, is enjoying his family and my son has been buried for one year now,” Peter Lyoya said. “The question I’m asking, is there really justice to see the man who murdered my son still at large and still at home?”
The preliminary examination was delayed twice last year until October, when a judge sent the case to trial. The trial was initially scheduled to begin in March, but it was delayed until October at the earliest.
“(We’re) asking the question, ‘What in the world is going on?’” Peter Lyoya added.
The Lyoya family says they will never give up in their pursuit of justice.
“I’m asking for the support from everybody to be with us so we can get the justice that we want, the justice we are seeking for and the justice that we deserve,” Peter Lyoya said. “I want everybody to stand up with us. We’ll keep fighting and show to the entire world that Patrick deserves justice.”
Peter Lyoya said it was important for the family to speak together to show their love for Patrick Lyoya.
“I want the world to know and the world to remember that Patrick has a family,” Peter Lyoya said. “He has a father, he has a mom, he has everyone around him. He was a good man. He was responsible. He was there for his family.”
Former Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack has been by the family’s side from the start.
“I don’t think people know how hard it has been for these parents,” Womack said. “A lot of people have their different sides of the issue, but in the middle of this issue is Patrick Lyoya, his family, the pain they’re going through.”
Peter Lyoya wants his son’s name to live on forever:
“We want his legacy, his name to not be forgotten like every young man that was killed by the police and never been mentioned.”