Family And Friends 'Want The Truth To Come Out' About Fatal Shooting By Kansas City Police
More than 100 people gathered in front of the home of Cameron Lamb on a cold Saturday afternoon, offering remembrances of the 26-year-old man fatally shot by a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer nearly two weeks ago.
They spoke of a young man finding his way in life, a devoted father of three who loved hosting family gatherings at his home on College Avenue, watching his favorite team, the Chiefs, and working on cars in his backyard.
"He had realized his talent, and he was trying to put it to work. There was nothing that he couldn't put his hands to do," Aqil Bey, Lamb's stepfather, told the crowd.
Longtime family friend Merlon Ragland said Lamb, who friends and family called "CD," had started tinkering as a child and clearly had a knack for it.
"You know, we used to get aggravated because he would take a loose the VCR, the toaster.," Ragland said, her voice breaking. "He would take a loose the vaccuum. But you know what? CD could put it back together.
"I'm truly going to miss him," she added. "I just want the truth to come out."
Several people in attendance wore shirts with Lamb's picture and the words "Justice for Cameron 'CD' Lamb" on them. Lamb's family say they have been given few answers about what led up to Lamb's death.
"Things are not clear to us," said Lamb's mother, Laurie Bey.
Lamb was killed on Tuesday, Dec. 3. KCPD says officers were near Lamb's home at 35th and College when they saw a red truck chasing a purple Mustang.
A police helicopter tracked the truck south along College Avenue for a few blocks to the backyard of a home that turned out to be Lamb's. Two plainclothes officers were dispatched to "determine why the driver was chasing the Mustang."
One of the officers saw Lamb back the truck into his backyard. According to the KCPD statement, Lamb was still in his truck when he pulled a gun and pointed it at one of the approaching officers. The other officer fired, striking and killing Lamb.
Ad Hoc Group Against Crime hosted Saturday's vigil. The advocacy's president, Damon Daniel, acknowledged people's anger and confusion over Lamb's death.
"We don't know the circumstances that led up to the incident," he told the crowd. "We don't know whether the officers who were responding, who were in plainclothes, whether or not it was their duty to respond to traffic violations."
Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represented Botham Jean's family in Dallas and is now working for Lamb's family, says the officers were on Lamb's property illegally.
"They had no right to be there. They had no justification for the use of deadly force. It was irresponsible, it was reckless, and we believe it was a crime," Merritt told KCUR a week after the shooting on the same day he met with Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
Merritt contends Lamb had not been invovled in any criminal activity leading up to the shooting and that there is enough evidence to indict the officer who fatally shot Lamb.
A spokesperson for the Jackson County Prosecutor's office says the invesigation is ongoing. KCPD say the department's investigation is not yet complete and has not been referred to prosecutors. KCPD also says that the officer who shot Lamb, whose name has not been released, is back on full duty.
On Saturday, frustration over those unanswered questions mixed with sadness.
"Regardless of whether there is an indictment or charges or a conviction," Daniel said, "we are still left with the fact that this father of three is no longer with us."
For Lamb's mother, Laurie Bey, it's in unimaginable tragedy.
"That morning, he was working on cars and he posted a video to Facebook Live," she said. "And he said 'What's up, mama?' That was the last time I heard my son's voice."
Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster and a reporter. You can follow him on Twitter: @kcurkyle.