KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A suspended Kansas City police detective pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb, who was killed while sitting in his truck in his garage.
Eric DeValkenaere was indicted by a grand jury last week with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in Lamb’s death.
The veteran detective remained quiet Tuesday in his virtual court hearing as his attorney, Molly Hastings, entered his not guilty plea.
Hastings told the judge the case has been moving very quickly from last week’s indictment to his first court appearance — so quickly that she hasn’t received the prosecutor’s files to review the case.
According to court records, DeValkenaere and another detective were investigating an earlier disturbance between two vehicles when they went into Lamb’s backyard.
The two officers were wearing plain clothes, had their weapons drawn and did not ask for permission to enter the yard, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.
DeValkenaere said he shot Lamb, who was still in his truck after backing it into the garage, after Lamb pointed a gun at the other officer.
According to court records, the other detective said he didn’t see a gun.
Lamb’s family and other activists have questioned the police account. And Peters Baker said her office was “stymied” by the police department’s refusal to provide a probable cause statement to prosecutors. She also said KCPD asked her not to prosecute.
Police said Lamb’s left arm was hanging out of the truck and a gun was found on the ground beneath his left hand.
Lamb is right-handed and he did not have full use of his left hand as a result of an injury sustained in 2015, according to prosecutors.
Peters Baker said because the detectives didn’t ask for permission to enter Lamb’s back yard, they were violating his Fourth Amendment rights.
The county prosecutor acknowledged there was a gun found near Lamb’s body but would not comment on what she believes happened before the shooting.
KCPD said DeValkenaere has been suspended for now, but the police union argues the shooting was justified and DeValkenaere shot Lamb to save another officer’s life.
DeValkenaere’s attorney issued the following statement after Tuesday’s court hearing:
“We have entered a not-guilty plea on both charges. We look forward to allowing due process take its course and to having a full and fair trial in this matter.”
FOX4 also reached out to Lamb’s family attorney, Lee Merritt, who sent a statement, reading in part:
“Cameron Lamb was murdered in his garage at home by plainclothes Detective Devalkenaere … The entire department will be investigated by the FBI, which we believe will lead to the uncovering of corruption at the highest level in the department.”
Lamb’s family said President Donald Trump promised them there will be a federal investigation into the shooting during a meeting with the family before the indictment.
DeValkenaere was released from custody last week after posting a $30,000 bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for July 30.