Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed during the attack at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility Friday, was a former co-pastor, according to his friends.
Swasey, 44, was a co-pastor at Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs for seven years, according to the New York Times. He was married with two children — a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.
"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," Scott Dontanville, a co-pastor, told the Times. "He did it because it was the thing that he felt he needed to do."
This photo provided by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs shows officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs via AP)
Swasey was one of the three people who died Friday when a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. Police have identified Robert Lewis Dear as the suspect but have not released a motive for the attack or any connection between the 59-year-old and Planned Parenthood.
Dontanville, who knew Swasey for 15 years, told the New York Times that although Swasey would "disagree with the abortion industry," his personal beliefs would not have been a factor in how he chose to act during the attack on Friday.
"I don’t think that was on his mind," Dontanville said. "He was there to save lives. That’s the kind of guy he is."
The Denver Post reported that he was on the college's campus when he responded to the scene of the attack in order to support Colorado Springs law enforcement officials.
"He was killed in the line of duty," a news release of Swasey's death stated.
Another co-pastor at the church, Kurt Aichele said it wasn't unusual for Swasey, who is an officer for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, to respond to dangerous calls even off campus.
"It’s not the first time that he’s been placed in harm’s way," Aichele told the New York Times. "He’s an absolute man of courage."
According to Aichele, Swasey was also once a nationally ranked figure skater who had moved to Colorado Springs in order to train. The Denver Post reported that he was a junior national couples ice dancing champion in 1992.
(H/T: New York Times)