Independent autopsy shows police officer shot Lyoya in back of head

Posted at 1:21 PM, April 19, 2022 and last updated 12:52 AM, December 13, 2022

By: Karie Herringa

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXMI) — Attorneys for the family of Patrick Lyoya say an independent autopsy confirms Patrick was shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids officer.

Attorneys Ben Crump and Ven Johnson released results from an independent autopsy at a press conference Tuesday morning.

The independent autopsy was performed by forensic pathologist Dr. Wener Spitz.

The results of an independent autopsy determined Patrick died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

An undated photo of Patrick Lyoya who was shot to death April 4, 2022 by a Grand Rapids police officer. (WXMI)

Dr. Spitz says Patrick died as a result of a single gunshot wound that entered the back of his skull near the midline.

According to Dr. Spitz’s report, the bullet traveled up and to the right side of his skull and lodged near his right temporal bone. The forensic pathologist reports Patrick had a normal life expectancy, which was estimated to be approximately 82-year-old.

Dr. Spitz is a former Detroit-area medical examiner who has worked on many high-profile cases including President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson.

This is the first autopsy report released to the public related to Patrick’s death.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, right, and interpreter Israel Siku point to video evidence during in a press conference at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ Family Life Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Thursday, April 14, 2022. Crump is representing the family of Patrick Lyoya, who was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids Police Department officer on April 4. (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

The Kent County medical examiner released a statement last week saying he completed the autopsy of Patrick but was still waiting on toxicology and tissue test results to finish the report. Even then, the full autopsy report won’t be released to the public until Michigan State Police finishes its investigation into the deadly shooting of Patrick. Dr. Spitz did not conduct a toxicology test for his autopsy report.

Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, died Monday, April 4 following a traffic stop near the intersection of Griggs and Nelson on the city’s southeast side. Lyoya was the driver of the vehicle. A passenger was also in the vehicle at the time.

Video from a witness shows Patrick was on the ground when he was shot in the head during a struggle with an officer.

Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack announced a funeral will be held Friday morning at Renaissance Church of God at 11 a.m. and Rev. Al Sharpton, a nationally known civil rights activist, will deliver a speech at Lyoya’s memorial.

This story was originally published April 19, 2022 by WXMI in Grand Rapids, an E.W. Scripps Company.