Patrick Lyoya shooting death: Ex-Michigan cop in court for preliminary exam

Posted at 1:54 PM, October 27, 2022 and last updated 12:48 AM, December 13, 2022

By FOX 17 News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The former Grand Rapids police officer charged with second-degree murder is back in court. Prosecutors are presenting evidence against Christopher Schurr in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya on April 4, 2022. The preliminary exam in the case is expected to run across two days in 61st District Court in downtown Grand Rapids.

FILE – Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr stops to talk with a resident, on Aug. 12, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Schurr, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Patrick Lyoya, a Black man who was shot in the back of the head in April, has been fired, officials said Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (Emily Rose Bennett/The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File)

Schurr is accused of shooting and killing Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop in April. A months-long investigation resulted in a murder charge against Schurr. An internal investigation at Grand Rapids Police Department ended with Schurr being fired.

The preliminary exam is meant to show that there is enough probable cause to go to trial.

In the first few hours of the hearing, the court heard from the passenger in Lyoya’s car who took cell phone video of the altercation.

Wayne Butler, a neighbor who witnessed the encounter on his front lawn, also testified Thursday morning.

He said he was in the shower at the time, saw police lights and came downstairs. He testified he heard Lyoya and Schurr talking to each other but couldn’t make out what was being said.

“I went down there just to keep an eye on it. Make sure everything is good. That there’s nothing crazy. That…You know, there are eyes watching in the neighborhood,” Butler said.

He was alarmed, in his words, to see a Black man get out of the car during a traffic stop.

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

“That’s what kinda struck me. As an African American male. Because obviously, no one is supposed to get out of the vehicle. It ends up that we end up dead… when we get out of the vehicle. But it ends up, obviously—not to say that that’s not procedure. That’s what struck me, as a 41-year-old African American male. Just wanting to make sure everything went okay,” Butler said.

He says Lyoya seemed confused as to what was going on and just wanted to get away from Officer Schurr.

“People that have committed big crimes— they run far away. They run in a straight line away from whoever’s chasing them. He was running, like he was disoriented, playing tag in two front lawns,” Butler said.

This story was originally published Oct.27, 2022 by WXYZ in Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.