COLORADO SPRINGS — A 17-year-old Colorado Springs girl is dead after a confrontation at her workplace. A 28-year-old man has been arrested in connection to her murder.
The Colorado Springs Police Department says it happened at the Walgreens on Centennial Boulevard on Saturday, June 11.
A store manager told police he’d found a body in the breakroom. There was blood everywhere, he said.
Officers rushed out and found the teenager’s body. “There were significant blood stains on the floor, cabinets and counter of the breakroom,” the arrest affidavit reads. “There was an identification badge on the floor and a radio earpiece… near the victim’s feet.” Officers say it was immediately obvious that Riley Whitelaw was dead.
Manager Justin Zunino said Whitelaw had complained about her coworker, 28-year-old Joshua Johnson, last year. She said Johnson had made advances toward her and it made her feel uncomfortable, according to court documents. Zunino reported he’d told Johnson to “keep things professional,” and said Johnson “appeared to be receptive.”
Still, Zunino told police, Whitelaw had asked to work a different schedule just a few weeks ago, again, telling her manager Johnson made her feel uncomfortable. However, Whitelaw also asked for additional hours – which, Zunino said required that she’d work with Johnson. Zunino said Whitelaw was told that would happen.
Another manager at the store, Crystal Ishmael, said Whitelaw’s boyfriend was hired on about three months ago. When that happened, Ishmael said, Johnson “appeared to be acting jealous.”
A customer who was shopping in that Walgreens on Saturday told police she heard a woman screaming at about 5:45 p.m. She said she also thought she heard the sound of stalls slamming, but unsure of what she really heard, she left.
That customer said when she drove by later and, seeing patrol officers there, stopped to tell them about what she’d heard.
Colorado State Troopers later found Johnson walking along I-25 near Trinidad. They said he had scratches on his hands and face at the time. They took him to the Police Operations Center on North Nevada.
Police say during a Mirandized interview, Johnson admitted he’d had a crush on Whitelaw at one time, but that he no longer had feelings for her, because he had become “intimate” with Ishmael.
Ishmael, one of the store managers previously mentioned, had not mentioned that relationship to officers, according to the arrest affidavit.
Johnson admitted to being in the breakroom, documents show, and “stated he fell in the blood.” He also said he talked to Ishmael by the dumpster as he was leaving the store, and went home where he “took off all his clothes because they were all bloody.”
Johnson is facing a charge of first degree murder.
He is set to appear in court on June 21 in El Paso County.