Broward County FL June 18 2016
Facing numerous child pornography and illicit sex charges, a veteran Broward Sheriff’s sergeant wrote a suicide note and called 911 before pulling the trigger and shooting himself at his Sunrise home — less than eight hours after his release from jail.
Sgt. Kreg Costa, 43, died at the hospital at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, six hours after telling a 911 dispatcher to “send Sunrise PD to the sideyard” of his home address, a recording of the call revealed.
Costa, a married father of five, left at least one suicide note, authorities said. The contents have not been disclosed.
“It’s been said before, and it can’t be said enough, he had total love and devotion to his family,” Costa’s lawyer, Dan Aaronson, said Thursday morning. “He truly, truly adored his family, that was just so obvious.”
The road patrol sergeant had spent six nights in jail since his June 8 arrest. He posted $250,000 bond and was released at 10:57 a.m. Wednesday under the condition that he not be allowed to spend any time alone with his children, ages 3 to 12.
The accusations lodged against Costa did not involve his children.
All 29 felony charges stem from Costa’s online exchanges with a 16-year-old California girl, identified online as “Babygirl.” She was 15, and told Costa so, when they began communicating in August. Over eight months, Costa engaged in sexually charged conversations with her and coaxed her into supplying him with a steady stream of sexually explicit photos and videos of herself, a two-month investigation revealed.
Costa called 911 at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police found him bleeding from a self-inflicted gunshot wound outside next to his house in the 9100 block of Sunset Strip. No one else was home, and there were no witnesses, Sunrise police said.
“He was the caller,” said Officer Michelle Eddy, of the Sunrise Police Department. “He called before he shot himself.”
Aaronson had given Costa a ride home from jail and dropped him off in the driveway. Aaronson said he had no premonition that Costa might harm himself.
“We were discussing the future, therefore this was shocking to me,” Aaronson said. “In the 35 years that I have practiced law I have never picked up a client from jail and taken them home, but I did for him. It’s something I don’t normally do. I guess two hours later or so, he pulled the trigger.”
He did so, Aaronson said, because he knew his client didn’t have a ride and he wanted to be with him in case “a media circus” was awaiting Costa’s return home from jail.
Costa’s wife, Christina, was with her husband at the hospital in his final hours, Aaronson said.
“She was going through every emotion that you would expect somebody to have under these circumstances,” Aaronson said. “I would say she was traumatized and doing her best to deal with the situation.”
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday he intends to support Costa’s family in every possible way. “It broke my heart” seeing and speaking with Costa’s widow at the hospital, Israel said.
Costa was arrested June 9 after hidden cameras planted in his Weston office showed he spent three to four hours per midnight shift perusing online child porn featuring underage girls, incest, bondage and domination and having cybersex chats with the California girl, authorities announced last week.
At a news conference last week, Israel denounced the road patrol supervisor’s alleged actions as disgusting, disturbing, reprehensible, illegal and immoral.
Israel did not waiver Thursday from his reaction to Costa’s charges a week ago. “One person is responsible for this,” he said. “And that’s Kreg Costa.”
Hired in 1999, Costa was suspended without pay immediately after his arrest. Last year, he collected $146,000 in salary, including more than $10,000 in overtime.