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"This can't be real": Off-duty deputy says suspect impersonated police officer, pulled him over

Suspect Jose Flores Ortiz accused of impersonating police officer after pulling over deputy
Suspect Jose Flores Ortiz accused of impersonating police officer after pulling over deputy 02:47

A man pretending to be a police officer was reportedly targeting people in Brighton. He tried to pull over an off-duty police officer and was promptly arrested and later identified as Jose Flores Ortiz. Now the officer is talking about that experience.

It happened on Saturday on Interstate 76 near Bromley Lane. Adams County Deputy Gilbert Abdulla was off duty and driving on the interstate when another car caught his attention.

"I noticed a vehicle -- a Dodge Durango with racing stripes -- immediately get really close to the back of my truck," said Abdulla.

When Abdulla saw a strip of LED lights in the Durango's windshield, his felt like something was definitely wrong.

"At one point he was so close to me it looked odd, so I reached over and grabbed my police radio and turned it on and sure enough the red and blue lights came on behind me," said Abdulla.

Abdulla knew right away that the vehicle wasn't law enforcement. He radioed dispatch and they confirmed no officer was trying to pull him over.

"This can't be real," Abdulla recalls thinking.

He continued following the Durango as it tried to pull another car over, then went back to antagonizing him.

"He started slamming on his brakes and brake checking me," said Abdulla.

The car pulled over, and Abdulla followed suit. Then a man got out of the car and approached Abdulla's vehicle. He was wearing a security shirt and carrying a silver badge. Abdulla got out of his car and identified himself, and that's when the man realized his mistake.

"At first it was an 'Oh shoot' moment, and then it was almost him wanting to smooth it over like 'I'm just like you,'" says Abdulla.

But it was too late. Abdulla detained the man until Brighton police arrived. They found weapons and open containers of alcohol in his vehicle. Flores Ortiz was arrested on charges including impersonating a peace officer.

Jose Flores Ortiz   Brighton Police

"It could have been a dangerous situation," said Abdulla. He's grateful the incident happened to him, and wants everyone to be aware of the risk police impersonators pose.

"People who may not know what to do or comply with whatever his orders are, it could be tragic for them," said Abdulla.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, Abdulla says to call 911 and ask them to confirm whether law enforcement is pulling you over. It's also a good idea to make note of the license plate of the car. You can also always ask law enforcement to show ID.

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