By Brian Maass
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Commerce City police officer Kevin Lord, arrested last week and accused of lying about being shot during a traffic stop, received his department’s Purple Heart award two years earlier for an incident in which no suspect was ever found and no fingerprints were ever recovered, but Lord said he was badly pummeled by the suspect who got away.
The new information emerged Tuesday as Commerce City released employment and commendation records related to Lord. Those records also show that in 2013 and 2014 Lord was paid for 55 work days he missed due to line-of-duty injuries.
He was arrested last Friday night and was jailed for two criminal counts after investigators and prosecutors concluded the veteran officer concocted the events of Sunday, Nov. 8. He said a man driving a Nissan Pathfinder shot him during a traffic stop then sped off. Lord indicated his bullet-proof vest saved his life. His story launched a massive manhunt which ended last Friday when authorities announced there was no suspect and that they believed Lord engineered a hoax.
Lord’s attorney, Reid Elkus, said, ”We can’t comment until we have all the information.”
Multiple sources told CBS4 that Lord has not confessed to any wrongdoing nor admitted any hoax.
CBS4 learned that Lord reported being badly hurt by a suspect in 2013, leading to his receiving his department’s Purple Heart. However multiple current and former Commerce City police officers told CBS4 they suspected at the time that the 2013 incident seemed fishy and they doubted Lord’s account of what happened. All of the officers asked their names be withheld fearing departmental repercussions.
Records released to CBS4 Tuesday showed that the incident took place on July 3, 2013 when Lord was on foot patrol checking out homes that were under construction. He said he spotted someone inside an unfinished home at 96th Avenue and Nucla Street cutting electrical wires. A second officer in the area said he never saw the suspect, but that when he found Lord, the officer said the suspect had hit him in the head twice before fleeing. Police reports say that a pair of wire cutters were found on the floor of the home and electrical wires had been cut.
Lord immediately began to complain of a headache and appeared to be bruised, according to a colleague’s report. The suspect was described as a 20-25 year old white male, 5-foot-10 and weighing about 160 pounds.
Another officer reported a K-9 was used for several hours to search the area but a suspect was never located. At a local hospital, medical professionals said “Lord appeared to have suffered a significant concussion and had swelling to his face including his forehead, left cheek and left temple.”
Lord recounted that during the incident his police radio was not working properly so he had difficulty calling for backup. He said the suspect repeatedly elbowed him in the head and punched him several times. Lord said he began to “see stars” and that his vision became blurry and he had to let the suspect go before he passed out. He noted that he had suffered concussions before.
A crime scene analyst who was called to the home wrote that he tried to obtain fingerprints from several areas the suspect had touched including the wire cutters.
“I was not able to obtain any latent fingerprints suitable for comparison to inked impressions,” wrote the officer.
The department concluded Lord had suffered serious bodily injury during the incident and awarded him the Purple Heart. Michelle Halstead, Director of Communications for Commerce City, on Monday told CBS4, “The city hasn’t made a decision on whether to revisit past commendations.”
Records show that in 2013 Commerce City then paid Lord $10,864.53 for 38 days he was on injury leave, presumably related to the Purple Heart incident.
In 2014 the department paid Lord for another 17 days he was on injury leave. That total was $4,888.70. The nature of the 2014 injury was not specified in the records released to CBS4 on Tuesday.
Although the current case against Lord has been sealed, multiple sources confirmed that authorities executed a search warrant at Lord’s home late last week, although it’s unclear what they seized.
Prior to working for the Commerce City Police Department, Lord worked for the Thornton Police Department.
He is due in court Nov. 30 on the current charges of making a false report and attempting to influence a public official.