Joshua Johnson: Riley Whitelaw Suspect Accused of Walgreens Murder in Colorado Springs

joshua johnson

Police/KRDO Joshua Johnson and Riley Whitelaw

Joshua Johnson is a Walgreens employee who is accused of murdering 17-year-old Riley Whitelaw on June 11 in the break room of a Walgreens store Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Johnson, 28, was a co-worker of Whitelaw’s who reportedly became jealous when she refused his advances.

Whitelaw attended Air Academy High School, which is located in Colorado Springs. “Air Academy High School is located on the premises of the United States Air Force Academy,” the school’s website says.

Read the police arrest affidavit against Johnson here. According to the affidavit, the officer observed “significant trauma” to Whitelaw’s neck area. Johnson has been charged with first-degree murder, according to the affidavit. He being held at the El Paso County Jail with a court date scheduled for June 21.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. A Police Affidavit Says a Store Manager Saw ‘Blood Everywhere’ in the Break Room

The Colorado Springs Police Department said Whitelaw was killed Saturday, June 11, at the Walgreens on Centennial Boulevard.

The arrest affidavit filed in El Paso County, Colorado, accuses Johnson of the following:

At 6:55 p.m., the Colorado Springs Police Department received a 911 call from the Walgreens at 6820 Centennial Boulevard located within the City of Colorado Springs.

One of the store’s managers said that he had found a body in the break room and “there was blood everywhere.”

When officers arrived, they saw Whitelaw’s body on the floor of the employee break room. She had neck injuries, and there was a large amount of blood on the floor around her head. There also were blood stains on the room’s cabinets and counter, the arrest affidavit said.


2. A Video Showed Johnson Stacking Bins in Front of a Surveillance Camera, Police Say

A store manager, Justin Zunino, told police that he had been contacted by another manager, Crystal Ishmael, around 5:30 p.m. when Ishmael noticed that Whitelaw, 17, had not returned from a break. He returned to the store shortly after 6 p.m. and reviewed surveillance video.

He stated that the video showed an employee named Joshua Johnson “stacking bins in front of a surveillance camera till it blocked the view of the camera,” the affidavit said.

The manager stated that “someone had taped paper over windows in the area of the break room. The restroom closed sign was in the area to keep people out, which typically does not occur till near the close of business,” the affidavit said.

It continued:

The manager then began checking the area of the breakroom. “He opened the door and saw Whitelaw on the floor. There was blood everywhere, and he did not enter the room.”


3. A Manager Stated That Whitelaw Had Complained About Johnson Making ‘Advances Toward Her’


Community remembers Riley WhitelawFamily and friends are remembering a 17-year-old student from Air Academy High School who was found dead inside a Walgreens in Colorado Springs over the weekend.2022-06-15T04:19:00Z

The manager “stated Riley had complained about Joshua about a year ago because he had made advances toward her, and it made her feel uncomfortable,” according to the affidavit.

“Mr. Zunino stated he had warned Joshua to keep things professional and Joshua appeared to be receptive,” it said.

Several weeks before her death, Whitelaw “requested to work a different schedule because Joshua made her feel uncomfortable. When she made another request for additional hours, she was told it would require working with Joshua.”


4. Whitelaw’s Boyfriend Recently Began Working at the Same Walgreens


Victim identified in death investigation at Colorado Springs WalgreensVictim identified in death investigation at Colorado Springs Walgreens2022-06-15T00:18:30Z

Ishmael, the other manager, said that about three months ago, Riley’s boyfriend, Jacob Leacock, 19, started working at Walgreens, according to the affidavit.

“Crystal stated she noticed Joshua appeared to be acting Jealous. Crystal stated while they were looking for Riley, she looked outside by the dumpster area. She smelled a strong odor of bleach in the area,” the affidavit said.

She attempted to open the door and “heard a male voice saying he was changing. She could see feet under the door, so she left and told Mr. Zunino.”

When he went to the dumpster area, the male was gone but an empty bottle of bleach was observed in the dumpster.

Elisha Schwenke, a customer at Walgreens at 5:44 p.m., said she was in the deodorant aisle and heard a female screaming. She thought she heard the sound of stalls slamming, the affidavit said. She “thought she could not have heard what she thought so she purchased her items and left. When she drove by a little later and observed patrol officers, she stopped to tell them what she heard,” it said.


5. Johnson Is Accused of Saying He ‘Fell in the Blood’ in the Breakroom

Riley Whitelaw

KRDORiley Whitelaw

Johnson was apprehended by Colorado State Patrol Troopers as he was walking along Interstate 25 near Trinidad, Colorado. He had scratches on his hand and face and was taken into custody, the affidavit said.

In an interview with police, Johnson “admitted at one time he had a crush on Riley,” the affidavit said. “He stated he no longer had a crush on her because he was intimate with Crystal.”

The affidavit said that Crystal did not mention any relationship with Joshua.

“Joshua admitted to being in the breakroom and stated he fell in the blood. Joshua admitted he was the person Crystal talked to by the dumpster, and he was trying to leave. He went right home after “that happened,” and took off his clothes, which were bloody,” the affidavit said.

He denied stacking the totes in front of the camera even though it’s on video, according to the affidavit.

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