Officer Michael Lohman

(Colorado State University Police Department, Colorado)

On September 7, 2017, Officer Michael Lohman was on duty as a patrol officer for the Colorado State University Police Department. At 1:43 a.m., he initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle whose driver was suspected of driving under the influence. Unbeknownst to Officer Lohman, the vehicle had been stolen hours earlier from Fort Collins.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, Officer Lohman was not notified that the vehicle was stolen until he was already at the driver's window, speaking with the driver. As soon as he was notified that the vehicle had been reported stolen, Officer Lohman ordered the suspect from the vehicle and attempted to gain control over him. As he was doing so, the suspect produced a handgun and pointed it at Officer Lohman. At this point, Officer Lehman attempted to gain control of the gun, while issuing a warning to other officers about the presence of a firearm.

During the struggle, the suspect pulled Officer Lohman partially into the vehicle. As he was pulled into the vehicle, he managed to wrest control of the gun away from the suspect, removing the threat. At the same time, the suspect put the vehicle into drive and rapidly accelerated, with Officer Lohman only partially inside the vehicle, which dragged him down the street.

The vehicle continued down the residential street, striking several trashcans, a residence, and a parked vehicle. As the vehicle struck the curb, Officer Lohman managed to pull the suspect from the vehicle while it was still in motion. Both Officer Lohman and the suspect hit the ground at a high rate of speed. Officer Lohman’s head struck the undercarriage of the vehicle, causing him serious injuries. He knew that the suspect was armed with a knife, and he was unsure of the exact location of the firearm.

Despite bleeding heavily from his head and not being able to see out of one eye, Officer Lohman immediately resumed his attempt to control the suspect on the ground, and to prevent him from gaining access to other weapons that could be used against both him and the other officers on the scene.

Officer Lohman eventually disengaged from the suspect and held him at gun point, and was assisted by other officers to take him into custody. Even after the suspect was in custody, Officer Lohman attempted to remain on the scene and assist his fellow officers with the investigation. He had to be escorted to an ambulance to get treatment for his serious injuries.

Officer Lohman sustained a large laceration to his head (stretching from the front of his forehead to the back of his head) in which glass and bits of debris had become embedded. He shattered his glasses, with the glass embedded in one of his eyes. He sustained road rash abrasions to a large segment of his body, and his uniform and most of his equipment were damaged beyond serviceable use. In addition to these injuries, Officer Lohman was also diagnosed with a severe concussion.

The suspect was subsequently charged with attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, first-degree assault, and aggravated motor vehicle theft. The suspect was bound over, pending trial on these charges.

Officer Lohman's actions that night not only saved his own life but potentially saved his partner’s life, who was standing on the passenger side of the vehicle when the suspect drew his weapon and the fight began. Officer Lohman showed great courage and dedication in his efforts to protect the people around him and take the suspect into custody. His actions are a testament to his bravery and determination as this rapidly escalating event unfolded.

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