See also: Garret Osilka Update: Cody Powell Busted in Shooting of Loveland Police Officer, published on March 5
As we've reported, Osilka has an unusual back story -- he played professional baseball at the minor league level for seven years -- and an absolutely picture-perfect family, as judged by photos on his Facebook page.
Here's the biographical sketch of Osilka as shared in a past issue of Blue Revue, a Loveland Police Department publication:
Garret was raised in Jacksonville, FL. He went to Edison Community College in Ft. Meyers on a baseball scholarship. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers from there and played for seven seasons. He obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of North Florida. He was then hired by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. He worked there for eight years as a patrol officer, a detective in the gang unit and a member of the SWAT Team.According to Osilka's stat page on Baseball-Reference.com, he played on a slew of teams between 1996 and 2003, including the Helena Brewers, the Ogden Raptors and the Beloit Snappers, registering a .255 batting average over that stretch.
He remained active after he moved from baseball to law enforcement, as seen in this Facebook photo:Also featured on the page are a bunch of family pics, all of which find Osilka beaming. Here's one example: But the incident that took place on the evening of March 2 was nothing to smile about. At about 7:48 p.m. that night, according to an arrest affidavit on view below, Osilka stopped a blue Jeep Cherokee for displaying unreadable license plates on the 2300 block of West 17th Street. As he approached the driver's side of the vehicle, he was shot by the driver using a 12-gauge shotgun.
Loveland Reporter-Herald staffer Jenny Sparks was on the scene shortly after the incident took place. She shot the following video:
Osilka survived the wound thanks to a bulletproof vest. Meanwhile, investigators found the Jeep and traced its temporary license plate to a Loveland repair shop where Powell worked. They then used shoe imprints and cell-phone triangulation to place Powell at the scene -- and along the way, they discovered text message exchanges between Powell and loved ones in the minutes after the shooting that had a certain air of finality to them.Powell wrote to his stepfather, with whom he worked: "Thanks man. I've never got the chance to tell you I look up to you like my own dad. I think you're a kick ass person and I've been a lucky guy to have you as family."
Another text to his brother read: "Hey man. You know we haven't been too close in the past, but you know I've always looked up to you bro. I love you man." When his brother asked if everything was okay, Powell responded that he was stressed, had been drinking more than he should and was "fucking my shit up."
By the way, Powell's previous record includes burglary, theft and driving under the influence -- and he was apparently a firearms aficionado, In a Facebook post last year, he wrote, "Guns are like potato chips.... It's hard to have just one."
A couple of days later, Powell turned himself in at a north Fort Collins Walmart -- and he eventually pleaded guilty to shooting Osilka. During his sentencing, 7News quotes him as saying, "My reckless actions almost cost a life that night.... I am truly sorry." He emphasized that "I am not a violent person and I never meant to harm anyone this night. I am prepared to spend the rest of my life trying to make amends for the heinous crime that I have done."The station adds background that's especially interesting given the content of the text to his stepfather: "Powell was recently diagnosed with PTSD and depression stemming from an abusive father who dunked him repeatedly in a toilet, forced him to eat nothing but sauerkraut and oatmeal and to sleep in a six-foot by two-foot closet when he was a child."
This information apparently didn't convince all of Osilka's fellow police officers that the sentence was just. One law enforcer among the many who packed the courtroom when Powell was given a forty-year jolt told the station, "It's a difficult job and we rely on justice to support us.... I don't think that happened today and I think that will have a negative impact on our agency."
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.