DENVER (CBS4) – She says she was just doing what any police officer would do, but little did she know a trip to Walgreens would call on her to pull her gun and use it.
The incident took place at the Walgreens at Tower Road and Green Valley Ranch late Thursday afternoon. Sgt. Virginia Quinones says she was off duty and had some quick decisions to make — to draw her gun first, or to draw her phone first and call 911.
Denver police are investigating a robbery, an assault on an officer, a car-jacking, and the off duty sergeant who fired her gun and then had it taken in the melee.
“I think it’s imperative that everyone understand why I did what I did,” Quinones said.
Quinones says was in the Walgreens store when she saw two men jumping over the counter, swearing, shouting “this is a [f***ing] stickup.”
“In my line of work a stick up involves a weapon,” Quinones said at a news conference.
Although she never actually saw a weapon, she said she immediately saw the danger.
“You’ve got three women, potential hostages behind that counter. These women are innocent victims. They’re screaming, they’re crying,” Quinones said. “I reach in my purse, I grab my gun, I jump over the counter after the suspects.”
The sergeant was formerly a spokeswoman for the department, so she’s used to media interviews. Bt this one was different — it was personal. Behind the counter with her gun drawn, she fought with what she calls verbal judo.
“I want these men to think this may be a lone woman, however this woman may just be crazy enough to shoot my a**.”
She says one of the men jumped at her so she fired and missed.
“There was a physical altercation … I attempted to shoot. He was able to wrestle the gun from me, but like I stated, the gun had malfunctioned, it was inoperable. There was an angel on my shoulder.”
Now two suspects are in custody.
“There may be people who second guess my actions, but I offer no excuses. I made a conscious decision to do what I was trained to do as a Denver police officer.”
Quinones also hurt her wrist in the encounter and was wearing a brace at the news conference.
Denver police are doing a routine internal investigation since she fired her weapon, but her job status hasn’t changed in any way because of the events.