Breaking News
More () »

Bullets 'whizzed' past Lakewood officers who chased Walmart shoplifting suspect, police say

The Denver man was arrested Friday night after reports of an armed shoplifter at the Walmart at Wadsworth Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Two Lakewood Police officers feared for their lives when a man they were chasing fired several shots at them Friday night, according to the arrest affidavit in the case.

The officers responded about 9:30 p.m. to a report of shoplifting at the Walmart at Wadsworth Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue. Employees said a man and a woman had been concealing items on themselves for two hours before they tried to leave, were confronted by security and were told to drop the merchandise.

"You have three seconds to let go the bag," the man told a security employee before he pulled out a gun, pointed and cocked it, according to the affidavit.

The two shoplifters fled on foot with a red shopping cart, possibly from Target, containing a trash can and stolen merchandise valued at $700 to $800, the affidavit said.

Walmart security cameras captured photographs of the suspects, below. 

Credit: Lakewood Police Department
Security cameras at the Lakewood Walmart captured still photographs of the suspects, who are accused of shoplifting there.

The two Lakewood Police officers who were searching the area found a man who matched the description of the armed shoplifter near Wadsworth, a couple of blocks north of the Walmart. The officers confronted the man at gunpoint, and the man turned and ran toward Wadsworth, while firing two to three shots at the officers, the affidavit says.

Neither officer was hit, and they didn't return fire.

The man fired more shots and then tried to carjack a vehicle on Wadsworth, but the carjacking failed when the driver left the scene. He then ran through a parking lot at 1655 Wadsworth Blvd. and fired more shots at the pursuing officers.

One of the officers "reported that she felt a tingling in her left cheek which she thought may have been a bullet passing this area of her body," the affidavit says. The officer was "terrified for her life and those around her."

The other officer described two bullets "whizzing" over the top of his head, the affidavit says.

The man disappeared into a neighborhood. Police set up a perimeter, and West Metro SWAT began a yard-to-yard search. They found a gun in the area of 18th and Wadsworth and located the suspect in the area of West 17th Avenue and Webster Street. Police took him into custody. 

The suspect, Richard Lee Arellano, 29, was taken to the Jefferson County jail on suspicion of:

  • Attempted first-degree murder of a police officer
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Felony menacing

The woman who was with Arellano was identified as Gwendolyn Gallegos, 57, who was cited for theft, police said.

Arellano had a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Credit: Lakewood Police Department
Richard Lee Arellano

RELATED: Arrest made in Lakewood fatal hit-and-run crash

RELATED: Man accused of luring girl into rec center closet pleads guilty

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Investigations & Crime  


Subscribe to our daily 9NEWSLETTER for top stories from 9NEWS curated daily just for you. Get content and information right now for can’t-miss stories, Next and Broncos content, weather and more delivered right to your inbox.   

iTunes: http://on9news.tv/itunes
Google Play: http://on9news.tv/1lWnC5n  


ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KUSA. 

For both Apple TV and Fire TV, search for "9NEWS" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.

Before You Leave, Check This Out