NewsShooting death of Patrick Lyoya


‘You didn’t deserve to go. You are sleeping’: Family mourns loss of Patrick Lyoya at funeral

Breonna Taylor’s family in attendance, impacted by the fatal shooting
Crowd pic 4.jpg
Sharpton Crump pic 2.jpg
Posted at 8:51 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 21:27:25-04

GRAND RPAIDS, Mich. — The Lyoya family arrived at Renaissance Church of God in Christ an hour and a half before the homegoing service of their son Patrick Lyoya. The 26-year-old father was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids police officer on Monday, April 4 during a traffic stop.

Earlier this week an autopsy, arranged by the family’s legal team led by civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Ven Johnson, revealed that he was shot in the back of the head.

Friday, before the funeral, the family viewed the body for the first time.

“It was not easy to watch,” said the family’s spokesman and interpreter, Israel Siku. “The father was down on the floor. The mom was crying. The younger sister was saying, ‘I don’t think this is the time for you to leave and to go. You didn’t deserve to go. You are sleeping. You are not dead.’”

The mother, Dorcas, and father, Peter, wailed as they leaned on the casket.

The family is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and currently live in Lansing. They speak Swahili. Siku translated the entire service for them, which included a speech by Crump and the eulogy by Rev. Al Sharpton.

“Reverend Sharpton say what was in his mind. He remind the world that we are all made in God’s image,” Siku said during an interview with FOX 17 after the service. “So, Patrick’s life was not less than any white boy. That’s what he was trying to remind to the world that we are all valued and we are equal in the eyes of God.”

Over 1,500 people were in attendance for the funeral, including many from the Congolese community, local activists and Breonna Taylor’s family.

Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police during a botched raid in March 2020.

Daevionne Smith, Taylor’s cousin, was at Lyoya's funeral for 30 minutes, he said. After that, he walked outside to take a breath.

“To see him laying in that casket, I’m outside because it just a different type of level for me. It’s like I was inches away from being exactly where he’s at,” Smith said. “You know, who’s going to be the next name is the question, you know? It’s like, I don’t think it’ll stop until... I don’t know what to do at this point, you know.”

On Dec. 9, 2021, Smith said he was visiting his father on Cass and Sycamore streets when GRPD surrounded his home, looking for a stolen vehicle.

He said when he stepped outside police surrounded him and a gun was discharged in his direction. GRPD later called it “accidental.” However, Smith said he’s been traumatized ever since. And, the vehicle he drove belonged to him.

READ MORE: Grand Rapids police investigating after officer fires weapon, person involved wanting accountability

“Like I said before, if it didn’t stop, if nothing didn’t change, if nobody paid attention to the wake-up call that it was with me — the single shot being fired and I am here to live — it could’ve prevented Patrick,” Smith said. “Now, look, Patrick’s dead. [I said] if it doesn’t stop, somebody’s going to die. Two, three months later here’s a Black man dead in Grand Rapids.”

The family held the burial at Resurrection Cemetery on Clyde Park in nearby Wyoming. They invited the public and media to attend. However, it was filled with the family and the Congolese community.

Siku continued to translate.

He told FOX 17 prior that one of the best ways non-native speakers can support the family is to say, "pole sana."

“It means,” he said, “condolences to you.”

READ MORE: 'Enough is enough:' Friends, family gather for Patrick Lyoya's funeral

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube