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CBI, AG Investigate Former Assistant Coroner Over Guns

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Carter Lord (credit: CBS)

Carter Lord (credit: CBS)

Investigator Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Attorney General are looking into the handling of three handguns that went from the Douglas County Coroner’s Office to the home of Carter Lord, the former Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner for Douglas County. Lord, 65, told CBS4 he “accidentally” sold one of the handguns for $500.

“I don’t know what they’re doing,” Lord said of the state investigation.

Lance Clem, a spokesperson for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, told CBS4, “We are involved in an active investigation with the Attorney General’s Office on this.”

Clem said due to the ongoing investigation, he could not provide further details.

According to Lord, the guns were part of various coroner investigations and families of deceased victims had indicated they wanted the weapons destroyed. Lord said he intended to destroy them after removing them from the coroner’s office, but that never happened.

Lord says he is a gunsmith and a licensed federal firearms dealer and has the facilities and expertise to destroy the guns. He said he intended to destroy them at his shop, but “sold one by accident” for $500. He explained a tag, indicating the gun was to be destroyed, had fallen off the gun leading to the inadvertent sale. Lord said the other two weapons had also not yet been destroyed.

He said several CBI agents came to his shop in late 2011 and confiscated the two weapons that he took from the coroners office but did not destroy. He said they were also able to track down the gun that he sold to a private party and retrieve that weapon as well.

Lord ran for Douglas County Coroner but lost in a primary election in August, 2010. He worked for the coroners office until March 2011. Asked by CBS4 why the guns were still in his posession and had not been destroyed at least six months after he left the Douglas County coroner’s office, Lord said he did not want to destroy the handguns during a ‘transition’ period from one coroner to another.

Contacted by CBS4, the current Douglas County Coroner, Lora Thomas, said she discovered the weapons missing from the coroners office last September during an office inventory. She said she contacted law enforcement authorities and the case was referred to the CBI.

“The Coroner’s Office is cooperating with the CBI investigation,” said Thomas.

Asked why the guns hadn’t been destroyed for six months after Lord left the coroner’s office, Thomas said the time gap was “unacceptable. It would not have happened on my watch,” said Thomas.

While Lord addressed questions about the guns that he moved from the coroner’s office to his home, he said he would not discuss his DUI arrest earlier this month. Douglas County Sheriffs deputies arrested Lord March 6 for DUI, careless driving and prohibited use of a weapon.

- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com

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