Kevin Lord, 48, remains on administrative leave.(Photo: Commerce City Police Department)
KUSA - The Commerce City police officer suspected of staging his own shooting
has faced legal and financial issues in his private life – including a domestic violence allegation, a court order that he stay away from his wife, a bankruptcy filing and multiple lawsuits filed by creditors.
A 9Wants To Know investigation of officer Kevin J. Lord also found that a 2013 case in which he reported being seriously injured – and for which he was awarded a Purple Heart by his department's chief – bears similarities to the Nov. 8 incident in which he said a motorist pulled a gun and shot him after a traffic stop.
In that 2013 case, as in this month's alleged shooting, Lord was patrolling by himself in a largely undeveloped area of Commerce City off 96th Avenue. And in each case, fellow officers had no luck identifying a suspect.
Lord, 48, is on leave following his arrest Friday on suspicion of attempting to influence a public official and false reporting. He has not been formally charged with a crime, but that could come at his first court appearance, which is scheduled Nov. 30.
Reid Elkus, Lord's current attorney, declined to comment ahead of that upcoming court hearing.
Lord was on patrol the morning of Nov. 8 when he reported stopping a maroon Nissan Pathfinder in the 9700 block of Peoria Street.
That's when he alleged that the driver opened fire, hitting him in the chest. Lord, whose ballistic vest kept his injuries from being life-threatening, told investigators he fired multiple shots as the vehicle drove away. He described the man as white, in his 40s or early 50s, with brown hair, a thin build and glasses.
Commerce City investigators later made public a detailed composite drawing of the man.
Then – six days after the incident – came Lord's arrest and an uncomfortable late-night press conference featuring Commerce City Police Chief Troy Smith and Adams County District Attorney Dave Young.
“I share with you – there is no armed gunman on the loose tonight, and there are no police officers in danger”Commerce City Police Chief Troy Smith
"I share with you – there is no armed gunman on the loose tonight, and there are no police officers in danger" a grim-faced Smith told reporters.
The domestic violence allegations leveled against Lord in February 2005 by his then-wife, Peggy T. Lord, did not lead to criminal charges after police investigators questioned the truthfulness of her assertions.
But the allegations had the potential to threaten his career – a federal law prohibits a person convicted of domestic violence from possessing a gun.
At the time, the couple had been married 12 years, according to police and court records, and Kevin Lord had adopted Peggy Lord's two children. Lord was working as a Thornton police officer and the couple owned a home in Fort Collins.
After separating, Kevin Lord moved into a LaQuinta Inn in Westminster, according to police reports.
On Feb. 21, 2005, Peggy Lord reported that Kevin Lord was threatening to kill himself, according to Westminster police records obtained by 9Wants To Know.
"Officers contacted Kevin Lord and determined that there were no indications that Kevin Lord was suicidal, and in fact believed that the report by Peggy Lord was an effort to discredit or to embarrass him based on his job as a police officer," a Westminster police officer wrote in his report of the incident.
Officer Kevin Lord(Photo: Commerce City Police)
Later that day, Peggy Lord called Fort Collins police and reported that her husband had shoved her into the door of his truck during a confrontation at the Westminster hotel. That incident, she said, had occurred two days earlier, causing injuries to her left arm.
But when Westminster police investigated, they faced numerous conflicting accounts about what did – or didn't – happen.
First, they questioned why Peggy Lord hadn't reported the alleged incidence of domestic violence at the time she told police her husband was suicidal. The couple's then-17-year-old son and a friend of his both told investigators that Peggy Lord was in the family's Fort Collins home at the time she alleged she was in Westminster being assaulted by her husband. And Kevin Lord told investigators that he was not at the hotel at the time of the alleged incident and was, in fact, out to dinner with an Adams County dispatcher – an account the dispatcher later confirmed.
In the end, Westminster investigators concluded that "evidence does not support the allegations made by Peggy Lord."
A few days later, Peggy Lord called one of the Westminster detectives "stating that she did not wish to go forward with this case and wanted to drop the matter." She also accused the investigator of "just trying to protect another cop."
By then Peggy Lord had already filed a petition in Larimer County Court seeking a protection order. In her application, she alleged that she had been a victim of "domestic abuse," "stalking," and "physical assault, threat or other situation."
"There has been physical, verbal, emotional abuse for the last 5 years or so," Peggy Lord wrote "I didn't ever report it before now. He's not in the home now so I can finally talk about it."
“There has been physical, verbal, emotional abuse for the last 5 years or so. I didn't ever report it before now. He's not in the home now so I can finally talk about it.”Peggy Lord
But before Peggy Lord's request for a protection order went before a judge, her attorney and Kevin Lord reached an agreement, according to documents on file in Larimer County. Kevin Lord agreed that he would have no contact with Peggy Lord except through attorneys or as a result of a written agreement or court order. The agreement required that when Kevin Lord went to Peggy Lord's home to pick up or drop off their son that he remain in the vehicle at the curb.
A Larimer County judge signed that order on March 8, 2005.
Michael Peterson, an attorney for Peggy Lord who filed the no-contact order, said Wednesday he did not remember the case.
Peggy Lord died in 2008.
Kevin Lord's first full-time law enforcement job began in October 1995 in Ault. He was hired as a Thornton police officer in May 1998.
In January 2007, he applied for a job with the Commerce City Police Department and was later hired.
According to court files, Lord has had financial issues in the past.
Kevin and Peggy Lord filed for bankruptcy in 1997.
In two more recent civil cases filed in Adams County, Lord and his current wife were sued by Professional Finance Co. Inc.
In a 2013 case, it's impossible to tell from available court documents how much money was at issue. Ultimately, according to court documents, Lord and his wife "tendered payment in full."
In a 2014 case, the company alleged that Lord and his wife failed to pay a total of $865.30 in bills to Northglenn Ambulance Co. and Boulder Community Hospital. That case was also resolved, but it is impossible to tell from available court documents what occurred.
Lord was the recipient of a Purple Heart from the Commerce City department in 2013 in an incident in which he reported by attacked by a suspected burglar and suffering serious head injuries.
In that 2013 case, Lord reported that he visited a development of under-construction homes about 11:30 p.m. on July 3, 2013, and left his car to look for thieves who had been stealing copper wire and pipes and other things, such as kitchen cabinets. Lord later told fellow officers that he saw a man ripping wire out an under-construction home, confronted him and then was attacked.
Lord told fellow officers he was hit repeatedly in the head and ultimately let the man go because he feared he was going to lose consciousness, and a doctor later concluded that he exhibited the symptoms of having sustained a concussion.
Lord described the man as white, in his 20s who stood about 5-foot-10 and weighed about 150 to 160 pounds.
Other officers – including one using a police dog – searched the area but found no sign of the man. A pair of wire cutters found inside the home contained no usable fingerprints, and no suspect was ever identified.
(© 2015 KUSA)