Off-Duty Detective Confronts Robbers At Walgreens

'I Did What Any Police Officer Would Have Done'

Written by Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – An off duty Denver Police officer who tried to stop a robbery at a Walgreens store tells CBS4, “I did what any police officer would have done.”

Denver Police Detective Virginia Lopez said, “I just reacted.”

Lopez, who is assigned to the DPD Identification Bureau, was at the Walgreens at 18550 Green Valley Ranch Blvd Thursday afternoon getting a prescription filled for her mother.

She confronted two robbers, drew her gun, and jumped the counter. One shot was fired from Lopez’s weapon during a tussle with the robbers. Nobody was hit.

“I was more concerned for the three female employees that the suspects were going after,” Lopez told CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass.

“As a cop we have an obligation to try to keep bad things from happening to good people. We don’t have the option of running away. That option of ignoring doesn’t exist for us so I did what any police officer would have done,” said Lopez.

After the shot, one of the robbers wrestled Lopez’s gun away and fled. Police say he then used it to steal a getaway car from a motorist at a nearby Grease Monkey store.

Police are looking for the armed robbery suspect and a second man who is thought to have driven away in a vehicle the robbers arrived in.

Lopez — who joined the Denver Police Department in 1989 — was being examined at a local hospital late Thursday night for possible injuries.

More from Investigates
  • denvervet

    This police officer is a hero in my book. Good going Lopez!

  • howard

    Getting your gun taken away and having it used to jack a car usually isn’t a good thing and hopefully not what any other cop would do in that situation.

  • samantha johnson

    Easy to critisize when you comment from a place of total ignorrance. Thank god there people who are willing to do something, take care Virg! Oh, and perhaps next time we can get her name right……..

  • mike

    First of all, if your going to pull your gun, be prepared to use it, and shoot them! Know we have a criminal out there with a gun, and another person out there without a car, because we have an ill trained so called officer out there on the streets. And guess who’s paying there salary. Just got to love the goverment!

    • sj

      I am sure you are very knowledgable about what training she has received as your response seems soooo enlightened. And I suppose you were there and know what happened? No? Well then continue to comment from the confines of your living room.

  • john

    Ok, she meant well, gou have to give her that.
    Better keep her behind a desk though.
    When you take that gun out you better be able to use it ir cintrol the situation.
    She did neither, she let the robber take it away from her.
    Excuse me if i am not impressed.
    The story does not mention if the robbers were armed, they are now.
    Lucky somebidy get did not get shot.
    If you are going to play with guns yiu better know what you are doing and be ready to use it if you have to.
    I was not there so I don’t know the whole story but as i said excuse me if I am not impressed with the officer.
    Well at least with her methods, nothing wrong with her character.

  • Corem

    Her heart and motives were in the right place and fortunately no one was physically hurt – this ordeal ended well enough, although I just hope that should she find herself in a similar situation in the future, when she pulls her gun, she’s uses it with greater scrutiny.

    I’m sure many of you may think that this is easier said then done (and you’re probably right), but given what I read about the situation, the scenario seems simple enough to me: You’re a woman, they are two men, they can easily bring substantial harm to you or to other employees there – If you pull a gun and the robbers make an aggressive advancement on you, shoot them.

    Consequently we now have a criminal on the lose, armed with a cops gun, and if he’s crazy enough to rob a store, he’s likely crazy enough to use that same gun for future robberies.

  • tuckbodi

    I remember Detective Lopez from around 10 years ago. I was involved in a hit & run and before the guy took off, I was able to grab his license plate #. I called the cops and they were able to track the stoner kid down the next day.

    Then, a few days later out of the blue, I get a phone call from the kid who ran into me saying Detective Lopez gave him my phone # to work out a deal to fix my bumper. Apparently because he was on probation for something else and it was her way of helping him out.

    Dumbfounded, I called the police station to speak with Detective Lopez, but was told she was on 2 weeks vacation, and they’d have her call me when she got back. She never called. What really sucked was, the morning of the accident, I had to put my pet dog down who had cancer and that day I had to deal with this idiot kid, the idiot police who responded (who at first didn’t believe me) and then idiot Detective Lopez.

    Seeing the news reports making her sound like a hero…nawww, idiot is more like it for losing her gun and I say she’s spouting off to cover up her incompetence!

    • Sgt. Virginia Quinones 89015

      First and foremost…. before you comment I believe you need to refrain from lying in an attempt to sensationalize your words of B.S. I was NEVER involved in any investigation that pertained to Hit and Run cases in the past 17 years. My assignments have NEVER had anything to do with these types of criminal investigations (hit and run). But I hope you feel better that you had the opportunity to attempt to make yourself feel important by posting your comment. Apparently this is a reflection of your character……….

    • howard

      Sadly this is how it goes in Denver. I had my car broken into several times. Each time I would get a postcard in the mail saying that the case was closed, but if I had a suspect to let them know. I told them know if I find anything I will take care of it myself. That got some attention. Had a detective at my door in five minutes. They didn’t do anything, but I made them make a trip so I consider that a victory.

      There is no “hero” here. These people are paid to do this for a living. If the situation called for pulling your weapon then you already have enough reason to use it. It isn’t the time to negotiate, get beat up and lose your weapon. DOH!!! If you want to be the hero, be the hero. If you want to be a witness then stand there and let it happen and answer questions later. She endangered lives like the cruise ship captain who later claimed to save many lives. BS!!! If he wasn’t an idiot, there would have been no lives in danger. If she had not pulled her gun and got it taken away who knows. Maybe they just get what they came for and leave. It ain’t rocket science.

      You would think today with paint ball guns, laser tag and other modern systems they would get much better training by actually getting shot during training. Anyone can qualify for a CCW from five yards away. Really. 15′. But everyone cannot think and or react under pressure. Being a cop doesn’t make you any better under pressure than the next guy. For the majority of them it has been a while since the academy. Odds are the bad guy has the upper hand in a street fight. They are younger and in a lot better condition. The one thing that gets them caught is usually that ain’t too smart. So it evens out in the end.

  • Todd

    Mike is spot on.

  • Sgt. Virginia Quinones 89015

    Let me state that this is the first time that I have had the opportunity to review any of these postings. I am very fortunante that I did not take the time to read these earlier on. SAMANTHA, AND DENVERVET I THANK YOU. For the rest of you that felt the need to judge and make comments on a situation that you have no true knowlege of…. I wish your comments actually had any real standing…TRUST ME THEY DON’T. You do not know the facts of what actually transpired on that date. I will not give you any further satisfaction but please take note that none of you that felt the need to comment would have handled yourself differently other then to possibly run out the door and call 911, while not knowing what the stick-up suspects would have done to the three innocent women that were being held in a confined area with the suspects while you ran away.

blog comments powered by Disqus
News Updates & Notifications

Listen Live

AM/FM Stations

Featured Shows & Multimedia