SWAT searches apt for Loveland police shooting suspect

Loveland police officer in ICU after being shot

LOVELAND, Colo. - SWAT officers have gone into a Loveland apartment in their search for the gunman who shot a cop Sunday night.

Small percussion explosions were heard just before 4:30 p.m.  Within 5 minutes, the SWAT officers slowly walked out of the apartment empty handed. They left the location shortly before 5 p.m. Police had surrounded the apartment building earlier, waiting for a search warrant.

"I was emptying my dishwasher and this, I mean, 'Kaboom' and I thought they knocked the door down," said Frankie, an apartment resident on the first floor.

Three schools in Loveland were in lockdown earlier as the officers began to arrive to the area. The lockdown was lifted after police surrounded an apartment building on Terri Drive.

"(Unit) number five, come out with your hands up; they said that three or four times," said Frankie.

"We're actually focused on a location, not an individual," said Lt. Rick Arnold, Loveland PD. "We have SWAT resources from Loveland PD, as well as a small assistance from Fort Collins PD related to a Bearcat, which is an armored vehicle to help us get people out of the area safely."

"The Bearcat is used to help people -- evacuate the people out of the area -- it's armored and protected., Arnold said. "It's bulletproof, so it makes it safe for people that are in that apartment complex."

Police had set up road blocks at W. First Street and S. Dotsero Avenue earlier and there was strong police presence around Thompson Valley High School. Walt Clark Middle and Milner Elementary schools were also on lockdown for less than an hour. All three are located in close proximity to each other.

"No specific suspect(s) have been identified and the investigation in on-going," a police statement said after the SWAT operation.  "The suspect(s) are still at large."

"Why can't you say who the suspect is?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"Because we don't have a suspect at this time. The officers are investigating a location. We may have one suspect, we may have many," said Arnold.

"Is there a public safety concern right now?" asked Zelinger.

"Of course. We have a suspect at large that shot a police officer last night. There is a public safety concern," said Arnold.

As the Loveland police officer recovers from being shot during a traffic stop, the reward for information about the shooter has increased to $5,000.

The shooting happened near 17th St. and Wilson Ave. at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, said Loveland Police Sgt. Mike Halloran.

"He called out over his radio that he had been shot. He returned fire," Sgt. Mike Halloran said. "When our other officers got on scene they were able to render aid and get assistance for him."

Loveland police identified the injured officer as Garret Osilka, a 36-year-old, married father of three. Osilka is recovering in a hospital's Intensive Care Unit but has been able to communicate with his family.

Police issued a "Be On The Lookout" alert for a man or woman driving a blue Jeep Cherokee and said they may be wounded.

The Everbridge Alert System was used to send out over 10,000 notifications throughout western Loveland and southern Fort Collins, police said.

Loveland officers found the Jeep at about 1 a.m., abandoned about two miles away, in the area of Aspen Dr. and Taft Ave.

Investigators aren't sure how many people were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting.

"We currently don't have any suspect descriptions," said Halloran.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado State Patrol are helping with the investigation.

"We're out here serving the community and to be ambushed and shot while we're doing that is something that we know that can happen," Halloran said. "But it's hard on all of us."

Larimer Crime Stoppers posted to Facebook Monday that they had increased the reward from the standard $1,000 to $5,000.

"Our prayers are with Loveland PD, their officer and his family as he recovers from a gunshot wound," Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith posted on social media. "Our assistance is with them in identifying and capturing the person or persons responsible for this deplorable act."

If you have any information on this shooting, call Loveland Police at 970-962-2032 or Crime Stoppers at 970-221-6868.

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