Grand Rapids, MI – The Grand Rapids police officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya during a fight over the officer’s Taser has received 14 letters of recognition during his seven years of service as a law enforcement officer.
Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) Officer Christopher Schurr was placed on paid administrative leave on April 12 following the April 4 officer-involved shooting death of 26-year-old Lyoya, WXMI reported.
Lyoya was fatally shot while trying to disarm Officer Schurr during a fight that broke out during a traffic stop.
According to Officer Schurr’s personnel file, he has been recognized by his department more than a dozen times for his exemplary police work, WXMI reported.
Many of the letters of recognition involved apprehending dangerous criminals, seizing firearms and drugs, and apprehending fleeing suspects.
Officer Schurr’s personnel file revealed he has no history of use-of-force complaints against him, WXMI reported.
He had two complaints in his file, including an incident where he caused a minor accident while “carelessly” backing his patrol car in January of 2021.
Officer Schurr was provided with coaching and told to be more careful as a result of that incident, WXMI reported.
The second complaint stemmed from a search in April of 2021, during which Officer Schurr spotted a firearm through a hole in a safe during a traffic stop.
The citizen who owned the safe later filed a complaint against him after police forced the safe open with a crowbar and damaged it, WXMI reported.
The complainant alleged the safe contained his grandmother’s ashes and that Officer Schurr stole them.
Investigators cleared him of wrongdoing with regards to the search, but sustained a complaint for “diligence” for failing to document the damage caused to the safe by forcing it open, WXMI reported.
The GRPD also released police audio recordings, a forensic report, a dispatch report, and an incident report on April 29 in connection with the fatal officer-involved shooting.
“Your officer, he did all the right s—t,” one witness told an officer who responded to the scene, according to one of the reports.
Another witness told investigators that the shooting happened after Lyoya took Officer Schurr’s Taser, WXMI reported.
The Michigan State Police (MSP) have forwarded a portion of their investigation over to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, according to WZZM.
The GRPD has also begun an internal affairs investigation.
The series of events leading up to Lyoya’s death began at approximately 8:11 a.m. on April 4, when Officer Schurr spotted a vehicle traveling westbound on Griggs Street with for a Michigan license plate which didn’t match the car, Chief Winstrom said during a press conference on April 13.
The officer followed the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop on Nelson Avenue Southeast near Griggs Street Southeast.
Bodycam and dashcam footage showed the driver, later identified as Lyoya, as he immediately exited the vehicle after being pulled over.
The officer ordered him to stay in the car, but Lyoya ignored him.
The officer explained the reason for the stop and asked Lyoya for his driver’s license several times before the suspect opened the driver’s door and spoke briefly with a passenger inside the vehicle, the videos showed.
The officer told Lyoya that the plate on the vehicle he was driving belonged on another vehicle, bodycam footage showed.
“The plate doesn’t belong on this car,” the officer said twice.
Lyoya did not respond.
A moment later, Lyoya closed the door and started walking around the front of the car, at which point the officer stopped him as he tried to pull away.
Lyoya took off running during the ensuing confrontation, heading around the back end of the suspect vehicle before the officer tackled him on the lawn of a nearby home, the videos showed.
The lone officer repeatedly ordered the suspect to put his hands behind his back and to stop resisting, but Lyoya did not comply.
Chief Winstrom said the officer deployed his Taser twice during the struggle, but that the barbs went into the ground both times.
The officer repeatedly ordered Lyoya to stop resisting and to “let go of the Taser,” the video showed.
Chief Winstrom said it appeared that the officer and the suspect both had a grip on the weapon for approximately 90 seconds as the fight continued.
Cellphone footage recorded by the passenger in Lyoya’s car showed the officer trying to keep the combative suspect on the ground during the brawl.
“Let go of the Taser! Drop the Taser!” the officer yelled multiple times.
The suspect and the officer were both on the ground fighting over the weapon when the officer drew his duty weapon, the video showed.
He fired a single round, striking Lyoya in the head, Chief Winstrom said.
Questions remain regarding whether the vehicle Lyoya was driving at the time of the traffic stop was stolen.
The Police Tribune reached out to the MSP and the Grand Rapids Police Officer’s Association (GRPOA) for confirmation on the status of the vehicle.
MSP Sixth District Public Information Officer Lieutenant Michelle Robinson told The Police Tribune on April 20 that the department will not release any additional information about the case at this time.
“We are not releasing any additional information as it remains an active, ongoing investigation,” Lt. Robinson said. “We will do a thorough investigation that will be given to the prosecutor once completed. I do not have a time line of when that will be.”
The GRPOA did not respond to The Police Tribune’s request.
Lyoya’s Michigan criminal history shows he was arrested three times on felony possession of stolen vehicles offenses in the past.
Each of those charges were ultimately pleaded down to misdemeanors, with his longest jail sentence running just 181 days.
The Kentwood Police Department (KPD) arrested Lyoya for assaulting a pregnant woman on April 4, 2017.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor domestic violence and was sentenced to one year on probation and $545 in fines and fees for that offense.
Lyoya was also charged with driving while intoxicated on at least three occasions, including one instance where he had a passenger in the vehicle who was under the age of 16.
He was charged with driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license at least twice.
Lyoya’s criminal history also includes at least two incidents in which the GRPD requested warrants for his arrest for several offenses, to include a charge of obstruction.
The status of the warrants is unclear.