KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Jackson County judge rejected a motion last month to dismiss felony charges against a Kansas City police detective in the fatal shooting of a man in early December of 2019.
Cameron Lamb, 26, was reportedly chasing his ex-girlfriend through town at high speeds in a stolen red pickup truck when an officer observed them and called it in. Lamb was located by a police helicopter as Detectives Eric DeValkenaere and Troy Schwalm responded to the call.
The detectives followed Lamb to a residence and caught up to him as he was backing the truck into a garage. Both detectives exited their police vehicles and approached Lamb in the stolen vehicle, issuing standard verbal commands such as instructing the suspect to show his hands.
According to the dismissal motion obtained by KSHB, Lamb showed his hands at first but as the truck came to a stop in the garage, he “reached toward his waistband with his left hand, shifted his weight, pulled a black handgun, and pointed it toward Schwalm.”
Once DeValkenaere saw the handgun, he reportedly screamed, “HE’S GOT A GUN,” several times. DeValkenaere then quickly fired four total shots into the windshield at Lamb, two of which fatally struck him.
Prosecutors have argued that according to medical records, Lamb suffered an injury in 2015 that “limited” the use of his left hand – insinuating that Lamb could not have pointed a gun with that hand. However, Lamb’s left arm was found hanging outside the driver side window and the black handgun was found below the allegedly limited left hand on the garage floor. Later, it was discovered that the gun was also stolen.
Prosecutors have also noted that Schwalm stated he did not see a handgun in Lamb’s hand. The statement was quickly labeled by many as irrelevant as the gun was found shortly after and DeValkenaere was correct in his assertion that Lamb had a firearm.
In DeValkenaere’s motion to dismiss the indictment, his defense attorneys claimed that he did not act recklessly during the incident – which is the burden of truth to meet for an involuntary manslaughter conviction.
The motion contended it was Lamb, not DeValkenaere, that implemented the risk that eventually led to the shooting. Defense attorneys argued that Lamb dangerously drove at high speeds through residential streets before pointing the gun at an officer.
DeValkenaere is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) voiced their full support of DeValkenaere in a statement and accused Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker of abusing her power.
“It is undisputed that the suspect pointed a gun at another officer which clearly demonstrates that Officer DeValkenaere’s actions were justified,” the statement read.
“We will devote our resources to helping Officer DeValkenaere and his family. Like other cases across the country, this is another example of the Prosecuting Attorney abusing her authority for political gain. We place our trust in the judicial system to correct this wrong and ultimately exonerate this highly decorated officer.”
The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) has also offered support to DeValkenaere and his family. LELDF helped set up a donations page where funds can be donated to help cover legal fees of the detective’s defense.
In an email to promote the donations page, DeValkenaere’s wife, Sarah, pleaded to potential donors.
“I am so scared for Eric that I have to do whatever I can for him – and for our children,” she said. “Eric and I – and our three kids – can only rely on the good nature and generosity of kind neighbors like you.”
DeValkenaere became an officer in 1999 and was assigned to the investigative bureau. He’s currently suspended pending the case and his trial is set for July 12.