JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The search is on for whoever shot a police officer in Loveland, Colo., about 50 miles north of Denver, on Sunday night.
Officer Garret Osilka worked for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for eight years, then moved to Loveland in late 2012 for a better job opportunity.
He lived in Orange Park with his wife and kids, and his move to Colorado came not long after a violent home invasion at their house.
Osilka is getting prayers from all over the country. Lt. Rick Arnold, of the Loveland Police Department, said the department is bringing together all its resources to do whatever it can for Osilka and his family.
"We are strongly present with the family, and they're phenomenal people," Arnold said.
A traffic stop turned into a near-fatal experience for Osilka, who formerly served with the JSO SWAT team and gang unit for eight years. Osilka was pulling over the driver of a Jeep when he was shot about 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
Police said after Osilka was shot, he called out over his radio that he'd been shot and then returned fire.
The Loveland Police Department isn't sure how many people were in the Jeep, and the nature of the traffic stop has not been released yet.
Osilka's Orange Park home was broken into in January 2012 by 20-year-old Jarvis Guthrie (pictured below). According to the police report, Osilka physically subdued the man until deputies arrived. Sources said the officer already had a job offer in Loveland, and the attack solidified the family's decision to move.
JSO said it is praying for Osilka and his family and issued us a statement that says, in part, "He was a model police officer and a leader among his peers. We hated to see him leave the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. He will always be a member of our JSO family."
Arnold said finding the person or people responsible for shooting Osilka is crucial.
"We do have a regional search underway," he said. "We're now working with other law enforcement agencies in the area and actively trying to locate and identify the suspects."
The Jeep the suspect was driving was found abandoned about two miles away from where Osilka was shot. Hospitals in the area have been alerted to be on the lookout for patients with gunshot wounds.
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