Officer Garrett Swasey remembered by loved ones
COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (CNN, CBS) – Officer Garrett Swasey was a loving husband, father of two, a former championship figure skater and a leader at his church. He was also a devoted police officer killed Friday in the line of duty when a man opened fire at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs.
“I’ve know him for about ten years and for that time, I’ve watched him faithfully serve others and place others before himself in nearly every situation.” remembers Co-Pastor Kurt Ikleze of Hope Chapel.
Officer Swasey was born in Melrose, Massachusetts and graduated from Melrose High School.
“As a Class of 1989 graduate, I remember him to be a kind and caring young man with many friends, dedicated to his skating career and excelling in all areas.” says Robert J. Dolan, Mayor of Melrose.
He was a 6-year-veteran of the police force, but law enforcement was in fact his second career after retiring from figure skating. He competed in the 1995 National Championships and won a Junior National title in 1992 in Orlando.
“Garrett is, or was the most selfless person I knew, always there as kind of my confidant, my brother, he put up with me.” says Swasey’s former skating partner, Christine Fowler who also spoke to his mother on the phone and “She just wanted me to say that, to remind everyone that Garrett died in the line of duty, protecting everyone in our country and there’s no time that he ever would not have done that.”
In the early 1990’s, Swasey moved to Colorado Springs to train at the Olympic Training Center. Friend at the church where he lead groups and plyaed guitar say he defined himself through his faith.
“Here’s a man who stands on principle, loves Christ and obviously, you know, he might not be in alignment with the abortion industry, but he’d be willing to go in and lay down his life for those people.” said Co-Pastor Scott Dantenville.
Officer Swasey also trained with Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. She remembers her former training partner fondly and says her heart aches for the children he left behind.
"It was a giant surprise, so sad. He's got two young kids that literally, I talked to Sheila, they run to him every time he comes in the door, so excited to see him." She said.
The community gathered Saturday to honor Officer Swasey. Moments of silence were observed by the UCCS Basketball teams to honor his memory before two games.
The Colorado Springs Police Chief spoke of Mrs. Swasey at the memorial.
"She knew Garrett would not not go. She knew and she said to me, he knew. He knew the risk and he loved what he did. He dedicated himself to being here. He dedicated himself to this profession. And there's no way, there's no way, I think I could have done anything different to make him a better officer."