Patrick Lyoya. Is seen in this undated family photo. Grand Rapids Police are seen Monday April 4, 2022 after the shooting of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya. (WXMI)
Police release video of deadly shooting during traffic stop
02:01 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Patrick Lyoya, the 26-year-old Michigan man who was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids police officer during a traffic stop, died from a gunshot to the back of the head, according to the official autopsy report obtained by CNN.

The autopsy also found that Lyoya’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the state legal limit to operate a motor vehicle, Kent County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle told CNN. The legal limit for alcohol in Michigan is .08.

The cause of death confirms the findings of an expert hired by the Lyoya family.

In a statement Saturday, attorneys Ven Johnson and Ben Crump, who represent Lyoya’s family, called on prosecutors to file criminal charges against the officer for the “unjust killing” and for the release of the Michigan State Police report on the shooting.

A CNN review of state court records found that at the time of the April traffic stop Lyoya had a revoked license and three open arrest warrants. There were a dozen criminal and traffic cases against Lyoya dating back to 2016.

The Lyoya family attorneys declined to comment on the man’s blood alcohol level, or his revoked license and open warrants.

Lyoya, a Black man, was shot on April 4 following a foot chase and struggle over a Taser after police pulled him over for an allegedly unregistered license plate.

The officer who fired the shot was identified as Christopher Schurr, who remains on administrative leave and has been stripped of his policing powers, pending a criminal investigation by Michigan State Police and an internal Grand Rapids Police Department probe into whether he violated department policies.

Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker said his office is reviewing the case and the timing depended on additional pieces of information, and that a decision was not imminent. Michigan State Police are still waiting on test results from the manufacturer of Schurr’s body-worn camera and taser.

The autopsy was conducted the same day Lyoya was shot, Cohle said. The medical examiner’s office released the autopsy report to media after it was given to the prosecutor’s office.

It’s unclear, Cohle said, whether Lyoya’s alcohol level “will play a role in the ultimate determination by the prosecutor.”

The manner of death was deemed homicide, which Cohle described as a formality. Homicide ruling by a medical examiner is not the same as a criminal charge by a prosecutor.

“What it implies is that in this case is that the officer meant to shoot him,” Cohle said, adding it is “up to the prosecutor to decide whether it is justifiable.”

Grand Rapids police released several forms of video footage capturing the approximately two-minute-and-40-second interaction.

The footage begins with the officer walking toward Lyoya’s car.

The video showed Lyoya, 26, got out of the car to talk to the officer. He is seen turning his back to the officer and appearing to walk toward the front of the car. The officer put his hands on Lyoya’s shoulder and back, saying “no, no, no, stop, stop.”

Lyoya is seen resisting the officer’s touch and quickly backs away from the officer, running away before the officer tackles him to the ground and tells Lyoya to “stop resisting.”

Video showed Lyoya getting up and standing, and the officer deploying a Taser. Police said the Taser was deployed twice but the prongs didn’t hit Lyoya.

The two end up physically struggling on the ground, where the officer shot Lyoya, who wasn’t armed at the time of the shooting, according to a family attorney.

The officer who shot Lyoya is heard saying “Drop the Taser” before firing the fatal shot.

The official autopsy report said, “there are two deployed taser probes and accompanying wires with the body,” as part of evidence, however the “taser tips are not embedded in the body.”

Lyoya’s family also hired a forensic pathologist to conduct an autopsy, as CNN has previously reported. The official autopsy determined what the family-hired expert found – that Lyoya died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

The CNN review of state records found Lyoya’s driving license was revoked on March 20, 2022, because of a third substance abuse conviction in 10 years. His license was also revoked in 2021 and 2019 for having substance abuse convictions, according to those records. It’s unclear whether Schurr was aware of this at the time of the traffic stop.

On April 1, a warrant was issued for Lyoya’s arrest in connection with a domestic violence complaint made on the same date. A warrant was issued in another case on April 4 for failure to appear or pay. The judge signed that warrant on the same date that Lyoya was shot by police, but the petition for the warrant was signed March 29.

Another warrant was issued in a case where Lyoya is alleged to have fled the scene of a traffic crash that resulted in property damage. That warrant was issued this February; the crash is alleged to have occurred on Christmas in 2021.

Schurr the officer who fired the shot that killed Lyoya, has worked in law enforcement for about seven years, according to his police union, the Grand Rapid Police Officers Association.

CNN has attempted to reach out to Schurr for comment.

The union said in a previous statement on its Facebook account that it supports Schurr.

The association acknowledged its statement is not intended to “detract from the heartache the Lyoya family is experiencing from the loss of their family member.”

“As tragic as this case is all the way around, we feel a thorough review of this entire situation will show that a police officer has the legal right to protect themselves and community in a volatile dangerous situation such as this, in order to return to his/her family at the end of their shift.”

CNN’s Amir Vera, Amy Simonson, Omar Jimenez, Emma Tucker, Theresa Waldrop and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.