Garrett Swasey was once a nationally ranked figure skater and ice dancer and moved to Colorado Springs years ago to train.
Garrett Swasey, 44, the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, police officer who was shot and killed while responding to shooting at a Planned Parenthood office, was described by fellow church members and friends as a courageous man and loving father who drew strength and inspiration from his Christian faith.
He was married, with two young children, and had been on the campus police force for six years. He also spent seven years as a co-pastor at Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs.
“Here’s a guy who worked full time as a police officer, and then gave a great amount of time to his local church and didn’t get a dime for it,” said Scott Dontanville, a co-pastor who had known Swasey for 15 years. “He did it because it was the thing that he felt he needed to do.”
Kurt Aichele, a co-pastor at the church and a close friend, said Swasey was once a nationally ranked figure skater and ice dancer and moved to Colorado Springs years ago to train.
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Aichele said Swasey frequently responded to dangerous calls off campus. One of his bedrock beliefs was putting other people’s lives before his own, Aichele said.
“It’s not the first time that he’s been placed in harm’s way,” he said. “He’s an absolute man of courage.”
Dontanville noted that although Swasey would “disagree with the abortion industry,” it would not have been a factor in his actions Friday.
“I don’t think that was on his mind,” he said. “He was there to save lives. That’s the kind of guy he is.”
On Friday, Aichele and other members of the church got the news that Swasey had been shot, and they were asked to pray. When it became clear he had not survived, Aichele said, they gathered at his home, where his wife broke the news to their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.
“She had to tell her kids that their daddy wasn’t coming home,” Aichele said.