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.

Comments (9)
  1. JIM D says:

    Your darn lucky you did not kill someone as you fired and missed or better yet you did not get killed yourself or worse the stupid robbers could of killed someone with your gun. Since you been a police officer for 19 years you think you would of reacted a bit better to the situation. You lost control of the situation of 2 UNARMED robbers you lost YOUR OWN GUN and YOU COULD OF KILLED A INCICENT BYSTANDER with your reckless shooting. Your reckless actions caused a person to have their car car jacked and you got beat down like a helpless victim. Hopefully next time you feel the need to spring into action you will use better sense of the training the department has goven you for 19 years SGT.

  2. Glen says:

    Your lucky that you did not hurt any of the by standers

  3. Jeff says:

    Glad no inicent bystanders were hurt, I am glad to see the Denver police were able to catch the robbers after the off duty sgt went crazy and almost got people killed, due to her mishandling of the situation.

    She is lucky the bullet struck the wall and not one of the girls in the pharmacy. Dont know how you lose your gun to someone who is unarmed, lucky she was not killed with her own weapon, or worse someone else was not seriously hurt.

  4. Oscar says:

    Shoot first, give commands after and all from cover. No need to warn a robber that you will shoot them.

    Aside from that, this officer had every reason needed to fire her weapon. Only problem is she doesn’t know know anything about self defense. Would not want her coming to help me out.

  5. jimgoose says:

    Woman cop gets her gun taken away from her. then it “malfunctions”. of course. Solution? hire more female cops. useless.

  6. Thomas Casey says:

    Her performance under fire brings to mind the old adage–“Hiring you was like losing three good men.”

    This woman is lucky the robbers didn’t wind up killing her and others besides.

    Contrast this to the female church member in Colorado Springs a few years back acting in the capacity of a security guard who took out the shooter and saved a bunch of people in the process. No doubt the police department will give her an award for valor and a promotion instead of the remedial training she so badly needs. Or revamp their own recruitment and training programs.

    “Having a gun” doesn’t make you competent any more than owning a violin makes me a musician.

  7. Jerry Vance says:

    Typical useless female cop endangering others.

  8. Richard Arena says:

    Actually a sad, sobering story. At that distace, you should not miss. And your gun should not jam. She is lucky to be alive.

    I would question her training. I would want ro know how much time she spends on the gun range each month and when the last time she actually fired her weapon. Also would want to know the last time she cleaned her gun.

    She should be embarassed by her failure and her chief should not permit her to carry a piece until she is retrained and demonstrates proficiency. The chief should review the weapons training program (including gun maintenance) for the entire department before someone gets killled.

  9. Stu Strickler says:

    You do not talk to robbers. If you pull that firearm, you should be shooting! There is no excuse for carrying a firearm that is not dependable.

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