A former Michigan police officer who…will face charges of first degree murder, a judge said Monday. Judge Nicholas Ayoub announced his decision after hearing testimony last week about the death in April of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A jury will decide whether Christopher Schurr’s use of deadly force was necessary “after a full and fair trial,” Ayoub said.
Lyoya, 26, briefly ran away from a traffic stop, then struggled with Schurr across a lawn before the officer shot him at close range. The last moment was captured on video by a man who was a passenger in Lyoya’s car.
CBS affiliate WWMT reported that during Schurr’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors called five witnesses, including Lyoya’s friend, Aime Tuyishme, the passenger who videoed the encounter. Schurr, who is White, sat on top of Lyoya and “screamed drop the taser” before pulling out his gun and shooting Lyoya once in the back of the head, the cell phone footage showed. Lyoya, a refugee from Congo, was lying on the ground when he was murdered.
“I knew something was wrong,” Tuyishme testified.
Ayoub only needed to find a probable reason to send the case to Kent County Court, a low standard of evidence at this stage under Michigan law.
Schurr’s lawyer argued Friday that the officer was defending himself while Lyoya would not give up. A forensic video analyst, Robert McFarlane, testified that Lyoya disobeyed 20 orders.
‘He pushed. He pushed, clapped his arms,” attorney Matt Borgula said.
Schurr, an officer for seven years, was fired in June after being charged with murder.