Officer Slain in Colorado Planned Parenthood Attack Was Beloved - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Officer Slain in Colorado Planned Parenthood Attack Was Beloved Dad, Church Leader

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The officer killed while responding to a shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic was remembered Saturday as a beloved father of two, leader in his church and a former competitive ice skater.

Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police force, was one of three people who died when suspected gunmanRobert Dear, 57, rushed into a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday with an AK-47. Police say he shot at responding officers from inside the building during a horrifying five-hour standoff.

The other two victims have not yet been identified.

Swasey, 44, was assisting the Colorado Springs Police Department, according to a statement from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor Pam Shockley Zalabak.

"He wanted to try to help people, which he did a lot of," added Swasey's father, David Swasey, who spoke with The Boston Globe.

The officer had moved from Massachusetts to Colorado in the 1990s to pursue a figure skating career, according to a fund page set up for the Swasey family.

"Garrett was passionate about his role as a police officer, his family and his faith," the page says.

In Colorado, Swasey became an elder at his church, Hope Chapel, according to an online church profile.

He, his wife, Rachel, and his two kids, Elijah, 6, and Faith, 10, "view the members of the church as their family," the profile said. Rachel volunteers in the church nursery, and one of Swasey's contributions to the church was playing guitar on the worship team.

Swasey's talents weren't limited to music. His figure skating talents earned him a junior national championship and he was a multiple-time national qualifier with U.S. Figure Skating, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs said in astatement.

"Officer Swasey was a valued member of our campus community … Our communities are poorer for his loss," said university President Bruce D. Benson.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' men and women's basketball teams plan to observe a moment of silence before each game Saturday in remembrance of Swasey. Earlier Saturday, a police procession escorted the officer's body from the Planned Parenthood clinic.

An afternoon vigil honoring all of the victims was held at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church at 11:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. ET). Vicki Cowart, the CEO for Planned Parenthood in the Rocky Mountain Region, was in attendance.

"Our hearts break together for what has just happened," Cowart said. "We have so many questions — we don't know yet why this happened," Cowart said, adding: "We can speculate a little bit."

Cowart also offered condolences to families of the two unidentified victims, and the family of Swasey, who she called "a valiant member of our community."

"We think of him and we think of his family and we mourn together with them," Cowart said.

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