Christopher Schurr – a Grand Rapids, Michigan, police officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in the back of the head on April 4 – has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced Thursday.
Second-degree murder is considered a felony offense. If convicted, Schurr could face a lifelong prison sentence with the possibility of parole.
Becker said the second-degree murder charge was the most severe possible, given the evidence he reviewed – there was not any indication of premeditation from Schurr, he said, which prevented a first-degree murder charge.
Schurr turned himself in, Becker said, and his arraignment could come as soon as Friday. He is likely to be tried in Kent County, with Becker’s office overseeing the case.
“I wouldn’t charge it if I didn’t think I could prove it,” Becker told media gathered in the Michigan State Police precinct just northwest of Grand Rapids.
Lyoya, who was 26 at the time of his shooting, was a Congolese refugee. His death sparked protests in Grand Rapids, Detroit and elsewhere over the police department’s conduct with the city’s Black residents and prompted discussions over the city’s commitment to racial equity, something it had pledged to improve in the wake of racial injustice protests in 2020.
Schurr, who had been with the Grand Rapids Police Department since 2015, was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting. Police Chief Eric Winstrom confirmed Schurr’s name to the public on April 25.
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SOURCE: USA Today; Detroit Free Press, Arpan Lobo and Navya Gupta