Attorneys for Patrick Lyoya’s family said Tuesday that an autopsy commissioned by his family revealed the 26-year-old was shot in the back of the head after an April 4 encounter with a Grand Rapids, Michigan, police officer.
Following a traffic stop, Lyoya and the officer, who has not been named, got into a physical altercation.
“Today, based on scientific evidence, we can confirm that Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of his head,” attorney Benjamin Crump said Tuesday in a news conference. “That is now scientific evidence of this tragic killing and what his family believes was an execution.”
Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, spoke at the news conference about his findings. Lyoya “died as a result of a single gunshot wound with entrance wound in the back of the head,” he said.
Lyoya, according to Spitz’s report, that was read aloud by Crump, 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.”
According to Spitz, the autopsy revealed no other injuries, which family attorney Ven Johnson believes is substantial because it indicates Lyoya was not aggressively fighting the officer. If he had, he said, there could have been other visible injuries.
Lyoya “was resisting … but he was not actively fighting this officer, hence you have no physical injuries to the knuckles, face, body, etc.,” Johnson said.
The Grand Rapids Police Department, referencing the ongoing investigation, refused to comment on the family attorneys’ news conference on Tuesday.
Lyoya’s death certificate has yet to be released, which will include the cause and manner of her death.