HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. - Hundreds of people lined the sidewalks along Lincoln Avenue on Friday morning as the motorcade for fallen Deputy Zackari Parrish passed by.
“It just strikes to your heart,” Gold Rush Elementary teacher, Karen Warner said.
Along the procession route, people stood in silence as a steady stream of police officers crested the hill with their red and blue lights flashing.
“They run towards danger. There’s very few professions that do that,” Member of the Patriot Guard Riders, Jim Herstein said.
Men and women bowed their heads with their hands placed over their hearts as the cars drove past. Many had tear-stained cheeks.
“You realize the importance of saying I love you and stay safe out there. That’s it, you don’t know if they’re coming home at the end of their shift,” Kathy Goldstein, nurse volunteer and member of the Patriot Guard, said.
The community gave a final salute to Zackari Parrish, who is described as a young father, dedicated deputy and a man of faith.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Goldstein said.
Parrish was gunned down in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve while responding to a call for help. His colleges said he stands for the symbol of the thin blue line.
“This blue represents law enforcement and the two black fields on either side, represent the citizens and the perpetrators – the criminals,” Herstein said.
“I want law enforcement to know that I’m standing up with you, next to you, the only way I know how,” Warner said.
Parrish’s death strikes a chord with current law enforcement deputies.
“It’s so emotional. I want him to rest in peace and know that us deputies and law enforcement, we’ll take his watch from here,” Denver Sheriff Deputy, Reynaldo Becerra, said.
Goldstein shared her message to the two young girls now left without a father. She said Deputy Parrish paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our community safe.
“Their daddy was a hero, and he will always be our hero,” Goldstein said.
The Patriot Guard Riders told FOX31 that they have participated in motorcades for fallen offices and soldiers for the past ten years, but have never seen one of this magnitude.