Detroit, MI – Attorneys representing the family of Patrick Lyoya released the results of an independent autopsy on Tuesday confirming he died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Lyoya, 26, fought with a Grand Rapids police officer and tried to gain control of his Taser after fleeing from a traffic stop on April 4.
The officer fatally shot Lyoya during the brawl.
Ben Crump and Ven Johnson, the attorneys representing Lyoya’s family, held a press conference at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit on Tuesday to reveal the findings of the independent autopsy conducted by forensic pathology expert Dr. Werner Spitz, WZZM reported.
Spitz said that during the autopsy, which was conducted in Grand Rapids on April 16, he discovered Lyoya was killed by a single bullet that entered the back of his skull near the midline, according to WXYZ.
The bullet then traveled upwards and to the right, lodging in the area of Lyoya’s right temporal bone, according to Spitz.
“This independent autopsy report confirms what we all witnessed in the horrifying video footage – unarmed Patrick Lyoya was conscious until the bullet entered his head, instantly ending what could have been a long and fruitful life,” Crump declared during the press conference, according to WZZM.
Preliminary information suggest Lyoya was actually armed with a Taser at the time he was shot.
“This young man and his family moved to the United States to pursue a better and safer life, yet he was brutally killed at the hands of a police officer, who failed to deescalate the situation before he took Patrick’s life,” Crump added.
Lyoya was killed while disarming a police officer.
“The Grand Rapids Police Department and the officer who pulled the trigger that killed our client must be held accountable,” Johnson said during the press conference on Tuesday, according to WZZM.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom released bodycam, cell phone, and security footage of the fatal officer-involved shooting during a press conference on April 13, but said he will not release the officer’s name unless he is criminally charged.
Chief Winstrom further noted it was too early in the investigation to render judgement on whether or not the shooting was justified.
Kent County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle completed an initial autopsy on April 4, but those results will not be released until after the Michigan State Police (MSP) completes its investigation, WZZM reported.
Cohle further noted he was still waiting for toxicology results to come back.
Spitz said he did not conduct toxicology testing as part of the independent autopsy, WXYZ reported.
The series of events leading up to Lyoya’s death began at approximately 8:11 a.m. on April 4, when a seven-year veteran of the GRPD spotted a vehicle traveling westbound on Griggs Street with for a Michigan license plate which didn’t match the car, Chief Winstrom said during the April 13 press conference.
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.
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.