Officer charged with murder in fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya has been fired

Schurr was fired two months after shooting Lyoya during a traffic stop.

June 15, 2022, 4:37 PM

A Michigan police officer charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop in April has been fired, city officials said.

Christopher Schurr was terminated after waiving his right to a discharge hearing, Grand Rapids city manager Mark Washington said in a statement Wednesday. The termination was effective June 10.

The Grand Rapids Police Department chief and the city's Labor Relations Office had recommended Schurr's termination, Washington said.

PHOTO: Christopher Schurr in a police booking photo.
Christopher Schurr in a police booking photo.
Calhoun County Sheriff's Office

"Due to the on-going criminal matter and the potential for civil litigation, I will not be providing any additional comment concerning Mr. Schurr at this time," Washington said.

The termination comes about two months after Schurr fatally shot Lyoya, 26, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the back of the head after pulling him over on April 4 for an unregistered license plate.

Body-worn camera footage of the traffic stop released by the police department showed Schurr struggling with Lyoya, eventually forcing him to the ground and shouting "Stop resisting,” "Let go" and "Drop the Taser," before shooting him.

Lyoya was shot in the back of the head, according to both an independent autopsy report backed by Lyoya's family and the Kent County medical examiner.

The shooting prompted protests throughout Grand Rapids, and the Kent County prosecutor charged Schurr with second-degree murder in connection with Lyoya's death last week.

Schurr, a seven-year veteran of the Grand Rapids Police Department, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Friday. If found guilty, he could face up to life in prison.

Schurr's lawyers, Mark Dodge and Matthew Borgula, said in a statement to Grand Rapids ABC affiliate WZZM that Lyoya's death "was not murder but an unfortunate tragedy, resulting from a highly volatile situation."

The Grand Rapids Police Officer's Association has defended Schurr in the wake of the shooting.

"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," the association said in a statement in April.

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by Ben Crump Law shows Patrick Lyoya.
This undated photo provided by Ben Crump Law shows Patrick Lyoya.
Courtesy of Ben Crump Law via AP

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Lyoya family, had called for the officer's prosecution and termination.

"Officer Schurr must be held accountable for his decision to pursue an unarmed Patrick, ultimately shooting him in the back of the head and killing him -- for nothing more than a traffic stop," Crump said in a statement to ABC News following the charging decision.

ABC News' Nadine El-bawab contributed to this report.

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