Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: The Setup’ chronicles how Lance Strickland and Walter Wright survived a near-fatal murder attempt in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in January 1993. The episode offers a detailed view of the ensuing investigation that helped to catch all the perpetrators involved in the criminal activity. If you’re interested in knowing more about the case, including the convicts’ identities and how they were caught, we’ve your back. Let’s dive in then, shall we?
Lance Strickland and Walter Wright’s Attempted Murder
On January 16, 1993, Officer Dennis Juhl was patrolling the east side of Colorado Springs, Colorado, around 7:15 pm. He received a call on the radio about an intoxicated person requiring medical assistance. However, the dispatcher soon notified him there were reports of a shooting, and he reached the crime scene to find an ambulance had already arrived. The officer found the paramedics were treating two victims — Lance Strickland, 24, and Walter Wright, 20. Lance was rushed to St. Francis Hospital while Walter to Memorial Hospital.
According to the episode, the crime scene was a convenience store parking lot attached to a gas station on Galley Road, an especially infamous part of the town for its high crime rate. The detectives interviewed the store clerk to learn he was solving an inventory issue when he saw a white SUV parked haphazardly in the parking space. He witnessed one man stumbling toward the store and initially thought he was one of those late-night drunkards the clerk had to deal with frequently. He was calling 911 when the individual entered the store before collapsing.
The clerk was horrified to see blood and immediately told the operator about the shooting. He looked outside to see another man falling out of the car and collapsing as he tried to crawl toward the store. The detectives found Lance’s vehicle in the parking lot. They discovered blood on the steering wheel and broken glass all over the seat. Judging by the damage to the driver’s window, the officers noted .380-caliber was used to shatter the glass. They also found blood on the rear passenger seat, indicating one of the victims was sitting there when he was shot.
The investigators reviewed the store’s surveillance footage to find Lance’s car halting in the parking lot before he stumbled out from the driver’s seat. Walter was also seen getting out of the passenger seat before collapsing. The officers visited the hospitals to find both victims had non-fatal injuries. Lance had a gunshot wound to the lower left back, with the bullet penetrating his colon and opening his lower intestine. Walter was shot in the shoulder and under the right armpit, though both slugs missed vital organs.
Walter’s girlfriend told the investigators he was hard-working and was employed at a local roofing company, where he met Lance. The two men became friends and planned to spend the evening together. The detectives also talked with Officer Juhl to learn Walter had told the emergency respondent he and Lance had been around driving all evening and decided to give a friend of a friend a ride. He described the person as a young tall, black male with short hair and a slender build. Walter claimed the individual tried to rob them and shot them after.
However, evidence showed the shots were fired from outside, indicating Walter was lying. He had also stammered a partial street name — ‘B-A-B,’ which turned out to be Babcock Road, about two and a half miles from the store. The officers found broken glass and .380 shell casings, indicating the shooting occurred there. Desperate to find clues, the authorities contacted KKTV, asking for leads from the public to solve the case. John Walters contacted the police the following day, claiming his nephew was possibly involved in the shooting.
He informed the officers his nephew, Ken Eatman, rode off with the victims, who were his colleagues. Ken explained Walter had inquired about scoring weed, and Ken offered to help them. However, he alleged he could not contact his dealer from the Citadel Mall and returned home after the duo did not return to pick him up. The investigators also interviewed Lance’s emergency contact, Randy Robbins, to learn he met Lance in California. According to the Robbins, Lance had been staying with them for the past several months.
As the police continued searching for leads, they had a breakthrough when another member of the public stepped up. He claimed he ran an unofficial neighborhood watch and had seen the victims’ car being tailed by another Cadillac at around 7:05 pm. The shooting occurred during the following ten minutes, and the officers started looking for the vehicle. Meanwhile, both victims recovered from their surgeries and told the police Ken had set them up with strangers, who robbed and shot them.
Where is Humphrey “Rock” Williams Now?
The police arrested Ken, and he immediately confessed to everything. He claimed he tried to contact his usual dealer before driving with the victims to Sunny Drive. After failing to score weeds from his regular contacts, he called Humphrey “Rock” Williams. When Rock learned Lance and Walter were loaded, having just received their paychecks, he plotted with Ken to rob them. Rock called his acquaintance, Ronald “Bolo” Williams, who came over with his Cadillac — their getaway car.
After Rock and Ken got into Lance’s car, the quartet drove to the remote Babcock Road, where Rock robbed them of their money at gunpoint. However, he did not flee and started shooting at Lance and Wright. The episode stated he was a dismal shot, and none of his firings proved fatal. As he, Ken, and Bolo drove away, Rock fired a few more bullets, smashing Lance’s driver’s window. Bleeding profusely, Lance managed to steer his vehicle to the nearby convenience store before he and Walter collapsed.
Based on Ken’s confession, Rock and Bolow were arrested in the following few days. Humphrey “Rock” Williams pleaded guilty to first-degree and second-degree assaults and was sentenced to 20 years. Ronald “Bolo” Williams was charged with criminal attempted murder and received a five-year probation sentence. Ken Eatman pled guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and was sentenced to four years. According to police sources, the gun used in the shooting was never recovered.