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Vigil for Patrick Lyoya, man who died after being shot by GR police officer

Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 06:16:23-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Family, friends, and community members took part in a vigil for Patrick Lyoya Saturday. 

It was held at the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation following a march that sought justice for Lyoya’s case. 

Lyoya was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids Police officer Monday, April 4 near the intersection of Griggs Street and Nelson Avenue. 

Those in attendance at the vigil sang songs and held moments of silence in his memory. Lyoya’s family also shared memories about the 26-year-old Congolese immigrant. 

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told FOX17 Lyoya ran from the officer, and then struggled with that officer when the officer caught up to him. Investigators say the officer shot Lyoya during the struggle. 

However, Lyoya’s family has disputed that account. According to Lyoya’s father and the family’s interpreter, video they were shown of the shooting depicts the officer shooting Lyoya in the back of the head while lying face down on the ground. 

Video of Lyoya’s killing has yet to be released to the public, although in a statement on Friday, Winstrom said the video would be release no later than April 15 at noon. The officer has not been named. 

“Nobody ever wants to go through this,” said Jimmy Barwan. 

Barwan considered Lyoya a brother. He says he first met Patrick after he also immigrated to the United States more than a decade ago. 

According to Barwan, he saw Lyoya a day before his death. 

“That last memory, I keep replaying in my head because I do music. He told me, ‘Bro you’re going to make it,’” said Barwan.

For those who only met Lyoya this past week, they say they came out because they see themselves in his story.

“I have a 15-year-old son,” said Safiyyah, an attendee. “I am terrified. I have to tell him a routine every day of just how to be, just to go to school, because one little thing could happen or he could be mistaken for somebody else and then attacked, and then harmed, and then killed by the police.”

Frustration, sadness, and other emotions were palpable in the room with people in search of answers.

“It’s easy to look on the TV and see it’s happening, it’s easy to sit at their home and watch it on the TV, but when it’s close to home, it’s different,” said Grishom Kusibi, an attendee. “A lot of things have no value until we give them value. This has been a repeating story within the relationship between Black people and the police [and] it’s about time this stops. It’s about time we put value into each other.”

Vigil for Patrick Lyoya

How we got here:
Man shot, killed by officer during traffic stop in Grand Rapids
Man identified in Grand Rapids officer involved shooting
Family demands answers, remembers life of man killed in GR officer-involved shooting
GRPD Chief on delaying release of video: this is not a cover-up
Kent County prosecutor: GRPD can share video of officer-involved shooting without his approval
‘I’m bleeding. I’m hurt:’ Father wants video of deadly officer-involved shooting released
Hundreds march against killing of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer

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