Lenexa victim in fatal Lawrence motel shooting sought new start in Kansas

Cameron A. Hooks
Cameron A. Hooks

The Lenexa man who died in a shooting at a Lawrence motel Saturday night had just texted with friends earlier in the day how much better he was doing since coming to Kansas from the East Coast just months ago.

Cameron A. Hooks, 23, died from his wounds and two other men also shot were taken to hospitals with life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Police continue to investigate the shooting that happened about 11:30 p.m. inside a Motel 6 at 1130 North 3rd Street in North Lawrence.

It was just seven hours earlier that Hooks’s friend, Troy Martin of New York City, was texting with Hooks, who he said was a like a little brother to him. Hooks had recently posted a childhood picture of himself, dressed for a school event, smiling in a shiny black-and-white striped vest.

“I told him I was proud of him,” Martin, 28, said. Hooks, originally from Florida, had been living most recently in Raleigh, N.C., and had just earlier this year decided to follow his mother to Kansas, Martin said.

He’d been working in North Carolina for Greyhound and for T.J. Maxx and was getting to a point in his life where he could help his mother, Martin said. “I was seeing him getting his own place, settling down. I liked seeing him doing better for himself. All of us (several long time friends) were working.”

Hooks liked to honor civil rights activism, Martin said. His Facebook page featured the iconic picture from the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 of American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising a “black power” salute during the National Anthem. And he has been supporting the public statements by NFL football players who have been kneeling or sitting during the anthem.

“He wasn’t into violence,” Martin said. “He always worked…He always had a valid point.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7509 or Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at 785-843-8477.