Fla. cop gravely wounded during call officially retires, shows signs of improvement

Meghan Valencia, who accepted a purple heart Tuesday on behalf of her husband, said he has been showing signs of improvement


By David Harris
Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — Kevin Valencia, the Orlando police officer who was left in a coma after being shot in the head during a domestic violence call in 2018, was awarded a purple heart by the Orlando Police Department as he retired from the agency Tuesday.

His wife, Meghan Valencia, accepted the award, which OPD said only a handful of officers have received, on her husband’s behalf. She also said he is beginning to show signs of improvement.

Orlando police officer Kevin Valencia was critically wounded while responding to a domestic disturbance in June 2018.
Orlando police officer Kevin Valencia was critically wounded while responding to a domestic disturbance in June 2018. (Photo/Orlando Police Department)

“A few days ago he began interacting with Meghan by rubbing her head and giving her a kiss,” an agency spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail.

Kevin Valencia responded to a domestic violence call on June 10, 2018, after a woman said she was assaulted by her boyfriend, Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr.

She ran to a nearby 7-Eleven, leaving Lindsey and her four kids behind. She told officers Lindsey had dragged her by the hair to her bedroom, where he kicked her in the face about five times. Valencia and other officers went to Westbrook Apartments and tried to enter with a key, but it broke off. Valencia was trying to kick down the door when Lindsey fired a shot, hitting the officer in the head.

It prompted a day-long standoff at the apartment, which ended with officers entering the apartment and finding the four children -- Dove, 1; Aidan, 6; Lillia, 10; and Irayan, 12 -- dead inside. Lindsey was also dead. Investigators said Lindsey likely killed the children before or shortly after the standoff began, then later killed himself.

An internal investigation later determined Valencia’s supervisor violated department policy and Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure by ordering Valencia to kick down the door.

The Orlando police pension board approved Valencia’s retirement earlier this year. At Tuesday’s ceremony, Valencia also received a plaque awarding him the honorary title of K9 handler, as he had expressed interest in working with police dogs before his injury.

A GoFundMe started by the Orlando police officers union raised over $200,000 and a free Pitbull concert collected $1 million to help his family with medical expenses.

 
Officer Kevin Valencia Retires from the Orlando Police Department

Today Officer Kevin Valencia's retirement plaque and city proclamation were presented to his wife Meghan Valencia. He was also awarded the prestigious purple heart, an award that has only been given to a select few over its history. Before the incident that impacted his life and his family, he spoke of interest in becoming a K-9 handler. So today, we also presented a plaque awarding him honorary K9 Handler. Meghan would like to share with her OPD family that Kevin is beginning to show signs of improvement. A few days ago he began interacting with Meghan by rubbing her head and giving her a kiss. She asks that we continue to keep Kevin and the family in our prayers.

Posted by Orlando Police Department on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

(c)2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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