Grand Rapids, MI – Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr was fired by his department on Wednesday, less than one week after he was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the fatal officer-involved shooting of Patrick Lyoya.
Lyoya, 26, was fatally shot while trying to disarm Officer Schurr during a fight that broke out during a traffic stop on April 4.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced during a press conference outside the Michigan State Police (MSP) Sixth District Headquarters on June 9 that he had charged Officer Schurr with second-degree murder and that the officer had already turned himself in.
He was later released on $100,000 bond, WXMI reported.
Officer Schurr faces a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole if he is convicted, Becker said.
Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington confirmed Officer Schurr’s firing in a statement released Wednesday, WJBK reported.
Washington noted that Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom and the city’s Labor Relations Office recommended he terminate Officer Schurr’s employment the same day the charge against him was filed, WJBK reported.
“I accepted that recommendation and scheduled a required discharge hearing,” the city manager said. “I have been informed by Mr. Schurr’s representatives that he is waiving his right to the hearing and, therefore, I have decided to terminate Mr. Schurr’s employment with the Grand Rapids Police Department effective June 10, 2022.”
Washington refused to comment on the issue further due to the “on-going criminal matter and the potential for civil litigation,” WJBK reported.
During his initial court appearance on June 10, the now-former officer pleaded not guilty, according to WXMI.
His attorneys said they will not accept any plea agreements and that they plan to take the case to trial.
Officer Schurr received 14 letters of recognition during his seven years of service as a law enforcement officer.
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.
Chief Winstrom told reporters on April 13 that 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.
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.
Officer Schurr 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.
Officer Schurr 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 Officer Schurr 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!” Officer Schurr 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.
Officer Schurr 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.
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 those warrants was unclear.