COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. — Hundreds attended a funeral on Friday for a police officer and pastor who was killed last week during a shootout at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado.
As previously reported, Garrett Swasey, 44 and a married father of two, served for seven years at Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs. He spent six of those years on the police force of the University of Colorado.
A biography on the Hope Chapel website outlines that Swasney provided oversight to the congregation’s Care Groups, and spent time “sharing his teaching gift as part of the teaching team and sharing his guitar skills on the worship team.” He had preached to the congregation the Sunday before last, as well as the week prior.
“We tend to want to do our own thing — ‘rugged individualism.’ But in spiritual matters we are utterly dependent on Christ,” were some of Swasey’s last words to his church. “We cannot stand before God on our own merits!”
On Friday, his wife spoke to those who came to remember Swasey, quipping, “I will not talk as long as my husband talked on a Sunday morning when he got behind a podium like this.”
She stated that Swasey’s legacy may be found in the names of the couple’s children Elijah and Faith. Elijah means “My God is Yahweh” and faith is described in the Scriptures as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.
“These two words, Faith and Elijah, they point to all my husband had to say to this world: Put your faith in the Lord,” Swasey explained. “Garrett was prepared to do good things because he put his faith in the Lord.”
“My husband lived out his belief in a God who rescues,” she continued. “It was a choice he made each day of his policing career, and each time he taught at church, Garrett strove to point to eternal life through the Son of God, Christ Jesus.”
Kurt Aichele, a co-pastor at Hope Chapel, also characterized Swasey, a former ice skating champion, as “a man of purpose.”
“He took God’s word seriously. If he were here, he would remind us that we need this (the Bible) more now than ever,” he said. “What he lived for shifted away from athletic success and fame and financial security. It shifted because living a life devoted to our Savior became his desire.”
Larry Darnell, a fellow University of Colorado police officer who attended the funeral, said that Swasey was not asked to go to the scene of the shooting, but volunteered himself to help after hearing on the scanner that another officer had been shot.
Scanner audio has now been released of Swasey’s “end of watch,” when it was realized that he had been killed on scene as he did not respond to the dispatcher.
The service was held at New Life Church in Colorado Springs before a standing room only crowd. Westboro Baptist sought to picket the event, but they were blocked by a line of attendees.