Grand Rapids police chief releases identify of officer who shot Patrick Lyoya – Capital Gazette

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Michigan police officer who killed Patrick Lyoya with a shot to the top has been with the Grand Rapids division for seven years, after starring as a pole vaulter at a small school and marrying his longtime girlfriend throughout a church mission journey to Africa.

Christopher Schurr’s identify had been circulating since his face was seen in movies of the April 4 confrontation with Lyoya, a Black man. But his identification wasn’t publicly acknowledged till Monday when the police division modified course and launched it, three days after passionate calls for on the funeral of the 26-year-old native of Congo.

Chief Eric Winstrom mentioned he was performing “in the interest of transparency, to reduce ongoing speculation, and to avoid any further confusion.”

Lyoya, who was unarmed, was face down on the bottom when he was shot, moments after a site visitors cease in Michigan’s second-largest metropolis. Schurr was on high of him and could be heard on video demanding that he take his hand off the white officer’s Taser.

A forensic pathologist who carried out an post-mortem on the household’s request mentioned the gun was pressed to Lyoya’s head when he was shot.

The Associated Press left a telephone message Monday searching for remark from Schurr, who stays off the job whereas state police examine the capturing. The AP reached out to him a number of instances over the previous week, together with knocking on the door of his suburban dwelling. There was no reply.

Schurr, 31, grew up in Byron Center, simply south of Grand Rapids, and joined the police in 2015 after attending Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, the place he studied accounting and was a star pole vaulter.

He gained an NAIA nationwide championship with a vault clearing 17 toes, ¾ inches and, as a junior, the college’s scholar-athlete award, based on Siena Height’s alumni journal.

Schurr was lively in his church when he was youthful, taking missionary journeys for Corinth Reformed Church in Byron Center, based on a 2014 story in Vaulter Magazine, a publication devoted to the game.

Schurr mentioned he was getting married that 12 months, and couldn’t afford to have a marriage celebration and take a separate journey to Kisi, Kenya, to construct houses, so he determined to get married there.

“We’re going to do a wedding their style,” Schurr informed the journal. “I have an African outfit already and my fiancee will pick out some fabric and she’ll make a Kenyan-style dress.”

A Twitter account along with his identify that seems to belong to the officer follows a couple of nationwide observe and discipline athletes, together with a pole vaulter. There are not any Tweets related to the account. A Facebook web page with Schurr’s identify seems to have been taken down.

A university teammate, Ryan Hopson, mentioned Schurr was mild-mannered and quiet in school, pleasant and fast with a smile.

“He always had a good vibe,” Hopson mentioned. “I can’t say nothing bad about him. I really can’t. … I was shocked to see it was him, but I don’t know what it’s like to be a cop and have my life on the line.”

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The police division’s resolution to launch Schurr’s identify was a reversal. After the discharge of video of the capturing, Winstrom insisted he would withhold the officer’s identify until he was charged with a criminal offense. It was described as a long-standing apply that utilized to the general public in addition to metropolis staff.

But Lyoya’s household and Black leaders, together with the Rev. Al Sharpton, repeatedly pressed for it, together with at Lyoya’s funeral, which drew 1,000 individuals Friday.

“We want his name!” Sharpton shouted, saying authorities can not set a precedent of withholding the names of officers who kill individuals until the officer is charged.

Ven Johnson, an legal professional for the household, mentioned it’s essential that Lyoya’s dad and mom now know Schurr’s identify, although he scoffed on the police chief citing “transparency.”

“It’s not transparent when you hide something for three weeks. It’s quite the opposite,” Johnson mentioned. “It’s cops taking care of the cops instead of treating it like a normal investigation.”

After Lyoya’s funeral, Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington acknowledged the demand for the officer’s identify and mentioned he would focus on the matter with Winstrom and metropolis employment officers.

Condon reported from New York. White reported from Detroit. AP reporter Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and AP researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York additionally contributed.

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