A Lawrence man arrested Saturday has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a man at his apartment.
Dustin D. Walker, 29, was charged today in Douglas County District Court in the death of Lawrence resident Patrick Roberts, 39. Walker is being held in Douglas County Jail on a $1 million bond, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Walker is suspected of shooting Roberts while attempting to commit aggravated burglary, according to probable cause information from the District Attorney’s Office.
Police were sent to an apartment in the 2400 block of Cedarwood Avenue for a reported shooting at 3:10 a.m. Saturday. Several individuals, including relatives who lived with Roberts, were present in the apartment when the incident occurred, according to the District Attorney’s Office and Sgt. Trent McKinley, Lawrence Police spokesman. At least two people fled the scene, and investigators detained two people for questioning, McKinley said.
McKinley said Roberts died after being taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. At least two people are thought to have participated in the disturbance, which included multiple shots fired, one of which struck Roberts in the chest.
Walker was arrested shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday, McKinley said. The second person questioned in the case had been released Saturday morning, he added.
Investigators have not determined a motive in the killing and are still uncertain how many people accompanied Walker to the apartment, McKinley said Monday. Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.
“This appears to be something that involves local people,” McKinley said. “I’ve had people ask whether people from Topeka are coming to Lawrence and doing these things, but that’s not the case here. Everybody that’s involved in this thus far to my knowledge are Lawrence residents. Some are longtime Lawrence residents. With that said, I believe there are people out there who have information about this, information about who else was present.”
Walker has several prior convictions in Douglas County: a 2008 conviction for aggravated battery and two 2012 convictions related to a DUI and fleeing a law enforcement officer.
A jury acquitted Walker in 2011 on charges connected to his alleged role in a December 2010 shooting at South Pointe Apartments, 2310 W. 26th St. Walker was charged with attempted second-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a felon after Darrick Dew was shot during a large party at an apartment. After the verdict, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said the lack of cooperation by witnesses hindered prosecutors’ ability to present a full case.
In 2008, Walker was also suspected in a shooting and robbery at a Lawrence apartment that resulted in a Lawrence man being shot in the leg. But in 2011, Douglas County prosecutors dismissed the case before it went to trial. Branson said afterward that both the victim and witness were unable to recall the incident, again prohibiting prosecutors from being able to proceed with the case.
Roberts, meanwhile, was due to return to Douglas County District Court on March 18 for a first appearance after an arrest earlier this month on suspicion of felony drug paraphernalia and distribution charges. The arrest stemmed from a November investigation in which, police said, more than 1,850 grams of marijuana were seized from his home. Roberts was booked into Douglas County Jail and later released on a $5,000 bond March 4.
McKinley said Monday that police were still investigating whether that case and Saturday’s homicide were connected.
“We’re exploring all angles, and we really haven’t determined a motive on this with any level of certainty,” McKinley said. “We’re looking at anything that may play into why individuals would go to that apartment with a firearm.”
Walker’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 18 before District Judge Kay Huff.
Anyone with information is asked to call Lawrence Police at 785-830-7400 or the Douglas County CrimeStoppers at 843-TIPS (8477).