The wife of the police officer gunned down at a Colorado Planned Parenthood Friday says she will "cherish his memory, especially those times he spent tossing the football to his son and snuggling with his daughter on the couch."
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Rachel Swasey issued a statement today in honor of her husband Garrett Swasey, a University of Colorado-Colorado Springs campus officer who was killed Friday when he responded in support of Colorado Springs police to reports of an active shooter at at Planned Parenthood.
"Our loss cannot be expressed in words," the family statement said. "While the nation now knows Garrett as a hero who gave his life for others, he was also a devoted husband of 17 years and a wonderful father to his two children."
Swasey, 44, was a six-year veteran of the UCCS police department, said the university.
"Helping others brought him deep satisfaction and being a police officer was a part of him. In the end, his last act was for the safety and wellbeing of others and was a tribute to his life," the family statement said. "What we need most today, and in the coming weeks, is your prayers for our family and for others who were impacted by this tragedy. We are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love that has come from the community and across the nation."
Before working in law enforcement, Swasey was an ice skater, and he grew up on the rink with professional skater Nancy Kerrigan.
"You can't explain it. It's horrific," an emotional Kerrigan said in an interview with ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.
Swasey's father "picked me up at school every day in high school and drove me to the ice rink," Kerrigan said according to WCVB-TV, "whether Garrett was coming with us or sick."
Swasey was a junior national champion in couples ice dancing in 1992, according to the Denver Post, and he then competed in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships with another partner in 1995.
Kerrigan said she learned about Swasey's death from his father, with whom she still keeps in touch, WCVB-TV reported.
Swasey grew up in Melrose, Massachusetts, about 10 miles north of Boston, according to Melrose Mayor Robert Doland.
"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 at Melrose High School," the mayor said in a blog post.
Swasey was active in his community and his church in Colorado, said the mayor.
"The entire Melrose community mourns the loss of Garrett, and our thoughts are with his parents and family, who were longtime residents, as well as his wife Rachel and their two children," Doland said.