GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police on Wednesday released hundreds of pages of documents that make up its investigation into the shooting of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer, including a statement from Lyoya’s passenger the day he died.
The document show that Chris Schurr, who has been charged with second-degree murder in Lyoya’s death, gave a statement to investigators 11 days after the shooting — but that statement was entirely redacted in the copy released to News 8, except for Schurr’s signature. Court documents previously obtained by News 8 indicate Schurr said in his statement that he shot and killed Lyoya — but that was never in question. A jury of Schurr’s peers will decide if his actions constituted murder.
The documents do include police reports from April 4, the day of the shooting, as well as witness interviews, including with Lyoya’s passenger. The passenger said he and Lyoya, both originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been friends for a couple of years and that Lyoya would drive him to work.
“He said they were just driving and then ‘everything happened after that,'” the report from MSP reads in part.
Schurr turned on his cruiser’s lights to pull Lyoya over, but according to the MSP report, Lyoya’s passenger said he stopped because they heard “a lot of noise” from the car’s undercarriage and Lyoya wanted to check it out.
The documents say there was an automatic license plate reader in Schurr’s car, but that it wasn’t activated and that Schurr had not been trained to use it. It’s common for officers to run plates manually. Police have said Schurr ran the plate and found it did not match Lyoya’s car.
The passenger said Schurr and Lyoya started talking and the next thing he knew, they were “going around.”
“(The passenger) recalled thinking, ‘this do not look right,'” the document reads. “He said he decided to take his phone out and record.”
“He said everything happened so fast but he knew something was wrong,” the document continued. “(The passenger) said he was trying to zoom in (with his cellphone camera) and he heard a ‘pop’ and then they put him in handcuffs when other police came.”
His statement reflects what was seen in video previously released by the Grand Rapids Police Department: Lyoya ran away from Schurr and there was a struggle that included Lyoya grabbing Schurr’s Taser. Schurr, who was on top of Lyoya trying to hold him down, shot Lyoya in the back of the head.
An autopsy confirmed that’s what killed Lyoya, 26. It also found that his blood alcohol content level was .29. Michigan’s legal limit for driving is .08. The MSP report also indicates open cans of beer were found in the car. Police asked the passenger about Lyoya’s drinking, but he didn’t give many details. GRPD reports previously obtained by News 8 show the first officer on the scene after Lyoya was shot suspected the passenger was drunk or high. In the MSP report, investigators said the passenger remembered clearly what happened.
The MSP documents include a report from the company that made Schurr’s body camera and Taser that seems to indicate they were working properly.
The MSP documents also detail an August 2021 use of force incident involving Schurr. A police report from Schurr in that case said he tried to pull someone over for speeding and for driving a car without a license plate. The report says the driver pulled over and ran away. Schurr said he tackled him and a struggled ensued. Schurr ultimately used his Taser multiple times and took the driver into custody. The driver was charged with resisting and officer and drug charges.
Schurr, 31, of Grandville, was charged with murder earlier this month after the Kent County prosecutor decided his actions could not be justified by self-defense. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys argue his actions were justified.
He has been fired by GRPD.