GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The former Grand Rapids police officer charged with second-degree murder was back in court on Thursday, October 27.
Prosecutors presented evidence against Christopher Schurr in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya on April 4, 2022. The preliminary exam in the case is expected to run across two days in 61st District Court in downtown Grand Rapids.
Schurr is accused of shooting and killing Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop in April. A months-long investigation resulted in a second-degree murder charge against Schurr. An internal investigation at Grand Rapids Police Department ended with Schurr being fired.
The preliminary exam is meant to show that there is enough probable cause to go to trial.
Court got underway a little after 8:30 a.m. The courtroom was at capacity, withthe Lyoya family among those who attended the hearing.
LOOKING BACK: Hundreds march against killing of Patrick Lyoya
The hearing started with the prosecution swearing in the autopsy from the Medical Examiner. It shows Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of the head and that Lyoya had a blood alcohol level of .29.
Then, the court heard from several witnesses, including Sergeant Catali with GRPD, one of the first officers to arrive at the scene.
The court also heard from the passenger in Lyoya's car who took cell phone video of the altercation. He says that he and Lyoya were out for a drive after hanging out with friends, when they heard a strange noise coming from the car. Lyoya pulled over to check out the noise, he said.
Wayne Butler, a neighbor who witnessed the encounter on his front lawn, also testified Thursday morning.
He said he was in the shower at the time, saw police lights and came downstairs. He testified he heard Lyoya and Schurr talking to each other but couldn't make out what was being said.
“I went down there just to keep an eye on it. Make sure everything is good. That there’s nothing crazy. That…You know, there are eyes watching in the neighborhood,” Butler said.
He was alarmed, in his words, to see a Black man get out of the car during a traffic stop.
“That’s what kinda struck me. As an African American male. Because obviously, no one is supposed to get out of the vehicle. It ends up that we end up dead… when we get out of the vehicle. But it ends up, obviously—not to say that that’s not procedure. That’s what struck me, as a 41-year-old African American male. Just wanting to make sure everything went okay,” Butler said.
He says Lyoya seemed confused as to what was going on and just wanted to get away from Officer Schurr.
“People that have committed big crimes— they run far away. They run in a straight line away from whoever’s chasing them. He was running, like he was disoriented, playing tag in two front lawns,” Butler said.
According to Butler, it seemed like Officer Schurr had physical control during the tussle.
After the prosecution, the defense began to make their case.
During the hearing, the defense called Michigan State Policeinvestigators to the stand, who testified that Bridge cards, credit cards, and multiple ID's were found in Lyoya's car.
Court took a break for lunch just before 12:15 p.m. and resumed at 2 p.m. Day one of the preliminary exam wrapped up just before 4 p.m.
The hearing will resume on Friday, when the judge will decide if there is enough evidence for this case to be bound over to trial.
TIMELINE: Shooting death of Patrick Lyoya
WATCH the first part of the preliminary exam: