Press Releases
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IMPORTANT: Please direct any media requests to Garfield County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, Walt Stowe at or at via cell phone at (970) 309-9697.
Do not contact the Garfield County Emergency Communications Center or Patrol staff for media requests.

  July 10, 2014 - 12:15pm


- The Body found in the Colorado River along I-70 on July 5, 2014 in the Rifle area has been identified as that of 61 year old George Hoskovec.

The victim’s identity was verified through a finger print match made by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Cause of death was determined to be drowning; the Coroner’s office has notified the next of kin.

Final disposition of the case remains open, pending results from the autopsy report however no foul play is suspected at this time.

No further information will be released.

  July 10, 2014 - 11:05am


- Law Enforcement Officers are looking to the public for assistance in locating the following suspect in connection with a robbery that occurred on June 30, 2014 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

If you have seen this individual or know of his whereabouts please contact the Glenwood Springs Police Department at 970-384-6500 or via e-mail at

You may also pass on any information anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 970-945-0101 and receive a reward of up to $1000.00.

  July 7, 2014 - 1:10pm


- On Saturday July 5th at approximately 3:30 PM Deputies were advised by Dispatch, of a body found in the Colorado River. The body was discovered by a group of rafters who called 911 from the location using a cell phone.

The location of the discovery was on the Colorado River parallel to I-70 between mile marker 90 and 91.

After further investigation by emergency personnel from the Colorado River Fire Rescue and the Garfield Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue was called in to retrieve the body.

At this time no foul play is suspected. The body will undergo an autopsy and the coroner will try to determine the identity of the individual after which the next of kin will be notified.

No further information will be released.

June 19, 2014 - 4:35pm



Trooper Involved Shooting Synopsis:

On Thursday May 8th, 2014, just after 9:00am, Troopers Eugene Hofacker and Shane Gosnell were travelling together to attend a two hour training block at the State Patrol Office in Glenwood Springs, CO. Since Troopers Hofacker and Gosnell were going to perform regular patrol duties after the training, they were in full uniform.

As they approached the westbound mile marker 129 on Interstate 70, the Troopers observed a red sedan on the shoulder of the road. Trooper Hofacker pulled the marked Colorado State Patrol vehicle behind the red sedan and initiated a motorist assist. Trooper Hofacker made the initial contact with the driver, Thomas A. Ornelas (D.O.B. 7/7/1973). Trooper Gosnell assisted Trooper Hofacker in the motorist assist. During the course of the motorist assist, Trooper Hofacker noted signs of intoxication coming from the driver. During the next few minutes, Ornelas became uncooperative and argumentative.

Without warning, Ornelas fired several rounds at Trooper Hofacker striking him multiple times. Trooper Gosnell, who was positioned to the rear of the State Patrol vehicle, saw that his fellow Trooper’s life was in immediate danger. Trooper Gosnell approached Ornelas and fired several shots. Trooper Gosnell observed that Ornelas fell to his knees and that Ornelas still had a gun. Trooper Gosnell continued to fire at Ornelas, firing a total of 14 rounds. Only after Ornelas fell completely to the ground and stopped being a threat to Trooper Hofacker, did Trooper Gosnell stop firing at the suspect.

A second Trooper, Corporal Coby Smart responded within minutes of the shooting. Upon arrival, he initiated life saving medical treatment to Trooper Hofacker by applying pressure to Trooper Hofacker’s femoral artery, which sustained a gunshot wound. Coincidently, an Eagle County Paramedic Service supervisor was driving in an ambulance service sports utility vehicle east bound through Glenwood Canyon when the call was dispatched for an ambulance to respond to the scene. An ambulance responded and arrived within minutes to aid in the emergency medical treatment of Trooper Hofacker. Trooper Hofacker was subsequently transported to the Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. There he underwent surgery and received other intensive care.

The subsequent investigation into the shooting revealed that Ornelas was en route to his home in Montrose, CO from the Denver, CO area. He had indicated to a friend earlier in the day that he was having mechanical trouble and that he may need to be picked up. A search of Ornelas’ vehicle, a 2006 BMW that registered to Ornelas, revealed approximately (4.7) ounces of suspected cocaine.

On May 9, 2014, an autopsy of Ornelas’ body was performed. The autopsy revealed that Ornelas had sustained several gunshots. The autopsy also revealed that Ornelas had a blood alcohol content of 0.186 and that there was evidence of cocaine in Ornelas’ blood.

In the days and weeks following the shooting, investigators interviewed Trooper Hofacker, Trooper Gosnell, and eyewitnesses. In addition, investigators reviewed evidence, scene photos, and submitted several pieces of evidence to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for further analysis.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has turned over all reports, photographs, and other evidence to the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office for their review.

Robert M. Glassmire - Investigator

No further information will be released.

June 13, 2014 - 7:10am


- On Friday June 6, 2014 at approximately 1:50 PM the Garfield County Sheriff’s office responded to a call of an ATV rollover accident in Kessler Valley north of DeBeque. Ashley Nugent, age twenty three, of Tallahassee, Florida was killed as a result of the accident. Ashley was part of an ATV guided tour into the canyon and was on a four wheel ATV when the accident occurred.

The vehicle she was operating apparently rolled over while negotiating a portion of the trail. In the process Ashley struck her head. The Coroner’s Office has indicated that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the skull. Ashley was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Immediate efforts to revive her at the scene were unsuccessful. Once the ambulance arrived she was declared dead at the scenevand the Coroner’s Office was notified.

No further information will be released.

June 11, 2014 - 12:10pm


- On June 10, 2014 at approximately 4:30 PM, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call in the Coffee-Pot Springs area. The call regarded an apparent altercation between a man and a woman. According to initial reports the woman was cut twice with a knife during the altercation.

The male suspect then fled from the camp site area in a vehicle and headed down the Coffee Pot Springs Road. The vehicle was later discovered wrecked and abandoned alongside the road.

The victim was transported to Valley View Hospital via ambulance and was treated for non life threatening injuries. Deputies from both Eagle County and Garfield County responded to the area as well as the Colorado State Patrol. Investigators from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office arrived later to collect and process the evidence.

A reverse 911 call went out Tuesday evening to alert local residences and advise them to secure their homes and be aware of strangers passing by or trying to gain access to their home.

The victim provided a name and description of the suspect. This morning about 5:00 AM a person answering the description was apprehended by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank all agencies involved for their assistance and cooperation in this matter.

No further information will be released.

June 9, 2014 - 4:30pm


- On Saturday June 8th the Rifle Animal Shelter, in cooperation with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the Rifle Police Department hosted a “vaccination clinic”. People were encouraged to bring their dogs or cats into the clinic and have them vaccinated for only $5.00 per shot.

The goal was to make animal vaccinations available to the general citizen in a convenient location at a nominal fee so that the dogs and cats in our neighborhoods could be healthier and safer. This year a new record was reached as 277 shots were administered to dogs and cats of all sizes and breeds. People with other pet related questions or needing animal welfare checks were encouraged to make an appointment and bring their pets back later.

The Sheriff’s Office spearheaded by Deputy Chappelle, (shown in center of picture), has been partnering with various animal care facilities in Garfield County since 2006 to provide low cost vaccinations to dogs and cats.

In Picture from left to right: Back Row: RPD Officer Neely, GCSO Deputy Chappelle, GCSO Administrative Assistant Julie Bailey, Front Row: GCSO Administrative Assistant Amy Hamilton and Tracy with the Rifle Animal Shelter.

No further information will be released.

The mission of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is to provide solutions for the people by utilizing and employing strong morals, good character, untarnished integrity, technical knowledge and fiscal responsibility through professional, ethical and equitable conduct.
Walter Stowe
Community Relations Deputy / PIO
Garfield County Sheriff's Office
106 County Road 333-A
Rifle, CO 81650
Phone: (970) 309-9697

Press Release Archives


Click on any of the links below to open up an archived Press Release sent out by the Garfield County Sheriff's Office Community / Media Relations Department.


07.10.14 Drowning Victim Identified
07.10.14 Alpine Bank Robber
07.07.14 Body Found in Colorado River
06.19.14 Trooper Shooting Synopsis
06.13.14 ATV Roll Over in Kessler Canyon
06.11.14 Coffee Pot Springs Knife Altercation
06.09.14 Pet Vaccination Clinic
05.22.14 CSOC Scholarship
05.09.14 I-70 Shooting Update: 2nd Trooper Revealed
05.09.14 Trooper Shooter Identified
05.08.14 State Trooper Shot
04.21.14 Torch Run-Relay for Special Olympics
04.19.14 Ballistic Vests for K-9s
04.17.14 Arson Investigation in Glenwood Springs
04.07.14 20th Anniversary South Canyon Fire
04.07.14 Work Zone Safety
03.21.14 Sadler Motorcade
03.20.14 Memorial Service to Honor Chief Sadler
03.14.14 Plane Crash in Garfield County
03.03.14 Vaccine Clinic
02.26.14 Dunlap Sentencing
02.19.14 Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Award
02.06.14 County Sheriffs of Colorado Scholarship Program
01.27.14 Silt Helicopter Update
01.27.14 Silt Helicopter Crash
01.09.14 Beware of Phone Scam
10.18.13 Explosives Issue Resolved
10.17.13 Injured Hunter Rescued
10.16.13 Campsite and Explosives Discovered
08.22.13 Rifle Incident
08.21.13 Red Mountain Rescue
08.13.13 Red Canyon Fire
08.01.13 Shooting in Glenwood Springs, One Dead, One Injured
07.23.13 Child Safety and Community Sex Offender Education Presentation
07.22.13 Sheriff's Office Organizing National Night Out Event

07.18.13 Human Remains in Garfield County Identified
07.17.13 Sheriff's Office in Susan Komen Race for the Cure
07.14.13 Human Remains Found in Garfield County