Lawrence musician, 39, was person shot and killed downtown; police chief says community is safe

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After two fatal shootings in two days, the Lawrence police chief wants to assure the community that the city and downtown are safe. 

Chief Rich Lockhart said that Vincent Lee Walker, 39, of Lawrence, was the man shot and killed by the bus stop across from the library Wednesday afternoon. He was a musician who performed under the name V-Dubb

“Some of our folks, especially our library staff, are very familiar with Vincent,” Lockhart said. “And so it’s a traumatic event for the community. It’s something that we have to work on healing together.” 

Lockhart reiterated that downtown Lawrence is a safe, fun place to go. These kinds of things can happen everywhere, he said; police try to prevent shootings from happening, but he noted the February parade celebrating Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory and said even 850 police couldn’t prevent that shooting. 

“Let’s still live our lives; let’s do what we enjoy doing,” Lockhart said. 

He said his 17-year-old daughter is still going downtown and he doesn’t worry about her because he knows she’s smart and safe. He noted some basic safety tips, such as being aware of your surroundings and putting your phone down and keeping your head up when you’re walking to your car, to help stay safe. 

“Violent crime overall in Lawrence is not very high. So when it happens, it is something that we really react to, and we should react to,” Lockhart said. “Violent crime is not something we should be desensitized to. But overall, it’s a very safe community.”

Lockhart said police had been working all night the past two nights on homicides.

Late Tuesday, 18-year-old Davin Gregory Kerr was injured in a shooting in the 2900 block of Crestline Drive. He was taken to a Kansas City-area trauma center but did not survive his injuries, according to police. 

Police on Thursday arrested Dawson Paine, 21, in connection with that shooting, Lockhart said. 

Walker was shot and killed around 5:10 p.m. Wednesday across the street from the library. Police later Wednesday night arrested 32-year-old Nicholas Beaver on suspicion of second-degree murder. Lockhart said Beaver is from Topeka and had been in Lawrence for “a very short period of time.”

Lockhart said there was a call the previous night in which someone similar to Beaver’s description had dropped a gun on the floor of the Lawrence Community Shelter; staff called the police, but the man had escaped before police got there, he said.

Lockhart said officers were able to find the firearm they believe was involved in that incident thanks to help from a “gun-sniffing dog,” Shiloh, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 


Lockhart said two of the people killed in the city’s three recent homicides were experiencing homelessness. Crystal White, 51, of Lawrence, was found dead in her tent near the city-sanctioned North Lawrence camp for people experiencing homelessness on Feb. 22, which was her birthday. She had been stabbed to death. A man has been charged in connection with her death. 

“We want to make sure that our people who are homeless have the same protections that people who are housed do as well,” Lockhart said. “… There was senseless violence; it’s things that people should be able to resolve without resorting to violence, and unfortunately, it’s ended in the death of two people.” 

Lockhart told media that he thinks we as a community need to push for better funding of mental health treatment programs.

“The people who end up out there having to deal with people who are in a mental health crisis are police officers,” Lockhart said. “We are the largest provider of unlicensed mental health care in this country, and our jails are the largest provider of unlicensed inpatient care, or in-custody care, for folks in these situations.” 

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

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Natasha Torkzaban (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a current senior at Lawrence High School. She was an editor-in-chief of The Free Press at Free State High School before becoming an editor-in-chief for The Budget at Lawrence High School for 2023-24. Read her work for the Times here.

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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