U.S. figure skating star Nancy Kerrigan has shared her grief over the death of police officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed during Friday’s shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado.
Before becoming an officer for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Swasey was an accomplished figure skater and was close friends with Kerrigan growing up in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
“I called him ‘Ugh’, he called me ‘Yuck,’ We were always teasing each other like a brother and sister,” she told the Boston Herald.
Swasey, 44, was among the three victims left dead when suspect Robert Lewis Dear opened fire on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Law enforcement officials say they haven’t determined a motive for the shooting, although one official told the Associated Press that Dear said something about “no more baby parts” after his arrest.
Former Olympian Kerrigan described Swasey as a fun-loving, passionate man with a big smile. “It’s so sad. He has two young kids and they run to him when he comes in the door,” she told CBS Boston, adding that the bond she built with him as kids on those cold, early mornings at the skating club can never be broken.
“He’s still in my heart like a little brother, a true friend, a very loyal, caring person and a good listener,” she said. “My heart goes out and breaks for (all the victims).”
Despite the family having moved away, Kerrigan was thankful that Swasey’s parents called to tell her he had been killed before she saw it on the news. The only word she could find to describe her feelings upon hearing of his death was “devastated.”
“I am not surprised with the way he was living his life, as a police officer helping others,” she said. “It makes total sense, he was always like that.”
At least 11 people were also injured in the attack. The 57-year-old suspect is currently being held without bail in a Colorado Springs jail.
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