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Community Updates: Friday, May 20

The Kent County Prosecutor releases a statement updating the public on the status of the Patrick Lyoya case; Grand Rapids experiences a wave of violent crime; and more
The lights on the bridges and buildings of downtown Grand Rapids lit up at nighttime.

The lights on the bridges and buildings of downtown Grand Rapids lit up at nighttime. /John Rothwell

The Kent County Prosecutor Releases a Statement Updating the Public on the Status of the Patrick Lyoya Case

On May 18, about a month and a half after Patrick Lyoya was killed by Christopher Schurr of the Grand Rapids Police Department, Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker released a statement detailing the case's progress. As of Wednesday, when the statement was released, Becker revealed that he had not yet recieved the full investigative report from the Michigan State Police. However, he is anticipating that it will be finished by early next week (at the latest). He also stated that he is not yet ready to make a formal charging decision:

"After receiving the partial investigative report from the MSP on April 28, 2022, I have been in regular contact with their investigators, and I have provided follow-up questions regarding the initial documentation. However, while reviewing the material that has been provided thus far, I determined that additional expert guidance -- beyond the scope of the MSP -- is needed in order for me to make a fully informed decision. I have begun to seek this expert guidance."

In the meantime, Prosecutor Becker has asked the community to be patient while he comes to a decision. "I recognize the investigation appears to be moving painstakingly slowly... it is impertive that I review all the facts and evidence before making a charging decision," he said. "In this situation, my decision can only be made by taking the time to gather all the available information -- both from the MSP and from state and national experts."

This statement comes after the Grand Rapids community has increased its demand for answers and accountability from GRPD, MSP, the Kent County Prosecutor, and other city officials. Just last week, protests caused the May 10 City Commission meeting to end prematurely. The April 26 meeting also ended early for the same reason. Additionally, the Grand Rapids Police Department reported that the homes of several City Commissioners were vandalized on Monday night. At Commissioner Jon O'Connor's house, a brick was found on the lawn. It had been wrapped with a newspaper article highlighting the death of Patrick Lyoya and someone had written "blood is on your hands" on it. The Grand Rapids Police Department is conducting an investigation into these vandalisms and is asking anyone with information to contact GRPD at (616) 456-3380 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.


The City of Grand Rapids Experiences a Wave of Violent Crime

Over the last week, Grand Rapids has seen a massive spree of gun violence throughout the city. In response to this uptick in violence, Silent Observer has increased its reward amounts for useful tips about homicides and shootings resulting in serious injury and/or property damage. Anyone with information about any of the following shootings is asked to contact the Grand Rapids Police Department or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345:

  • Shots were fired at the Towne & Country Shopping Center on Kalamazoo Avenue and 44th Street on Saturday night (at around 11:00pm). Two individuals suffered bullet wounds and were taken to the hospital. One of the victims ultimately passed away.
  • At around 2:30am on Sunday morning, gunfire was exchanged in the Eastown neighborhood near the Wealthy Street and Ethel Avenue intersection. Many of the nearby businesses sustained damage -- including the Eastown Sports Bar and The Pita House. However, nobody was injured.
  • At around 11:00am on Sunday morning, a shooting occurred near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Geneva Avenue. One victim, a 40-year-old man, died at the scene.
  • At around 3:00pm on Monday afternoon, reports came in of gunfire at the intersection of 28th Street and the East Beltline. One person was injured and many nearby vehicles were damaged.
  • At around 6:00pm on Monday evening, shots were fired at a residence in Wyoming. A 23-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound, but is expected to recover.
  • At around 8:30pm on Monday night, another shooting occurred on Division Avenue near Hall Street. According to the Grand Rapids Police Department, no injuries were reported.
  • At around 12:00pm on Wednesday afternoon, gunfire was reported on Caulfield Avenue on Grand Rapids' southwest side. There were no injuries, but one of the gunmen ended up barricading themself inside a nearby residence for about two hours until negotiators were able to get them to come out. 
  • At around 7:30pm on Thursday night, shots were fired outside of East Kentwood High School. A 40-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy sustained injuries in the shooting. 


Also in the News:

  • The Grand Rapids Fire Department is asking for volunteers from the community to assist with a training exercise. The event will take place between 6:30am and 12:00pm on June 25 at Grand Rapids City Hall. Volunteers must be 16+ and will be provided with breakfast and lunch. Trainers may also ask volunteers if they can apply makeup (which may stain clothing) to simulate injuries. The registration form and necessary waiver(s) are available here


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