'No Question a Powerful Bullet' Killed Patrick Lyoya

Family releases results of independent autopsy after Grand Rapids, Michigan, shooting
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2022 12:54 PM CDT
'No Question a Powerful Bullet' Killed Patrick Lyoya
Protesters chant in front of police blocking an on ramp to Interstate 196 as they march through downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday, April 16, 2022.   (Daniel Shular/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

The family of a Michigan Black man who was shot dead by police on April 4 says an independent autopsy confirms a bullet to the back of the head killed Patrick Lyoya. The AP reports that syncs with the footage released by the police chief of Grand Rapids, where the 26-year-old died. The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Werner Spitz, a 95-year-old with a legendary resume: He's been involved in the aftermaths of President John F. Kennedy's and Martin Luther King Jr.'s deaths, reports the Detroit Free Press, and in the OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony, and Jon Benet Ramsey cases. Spitz was unequivocal in a Tuesday news conference: "There's no question what killed this young man. ... It was a powerful bullet."

Spitz says he believes the unnamed officer's gun was pushing against Lyoya's skull when the bullet was fired. Per Spitz's report, Lyoya "was conscious and aware of the fact that a gun was being held to the back of his head. Death was instantaneous when the gun was fired," reports CNN. The Guardian reports that Spitz demonstrated how the bullet entered the rear of the head and traveled to the right temple. "There was no complete exit, only an exit from the skull, not from the head," he said. Lyoya was killed after a traffic stop during which an officer is heard saying the car's license plate isn't associated with that particular vehicle.

At that point, Lyoya fails to reenter the vehicle when told to do so. After a short foot chase, the officer ends up on top of Lyoya. He tells Lyoya to take his hand off the police Taser, per the video, then shoots him. Attorney Ben Crump had this to add: "That is now scientific evidence of this tragic killing and what his family believes was an execution." The official autopsy report has yet to be released. (More Patrick Lyoya stories.)

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