COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Members of Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs came together for a special Sunday service in honor of fallen officer Garrett Swasey, who was one of the three victims killed in Friday's deadly shooting at Planned Parenthood.
"You don't realize how much you love someone until you can't tell them anymore,” Scott Dontanville with Hope Chapel said at the service.
Church bulletins went hand-in-hand with tissues. While you heard and saw people singing, there was an empty space by the choir, where Officer Garrett Swasey typically stood.
"He was just standing there,” Dontanville said pointing to the choir. “Our last time we gathered together - playing guitar."
Garrett found his calling as a University of Colorado, Colorado Springs police officer, after a successful career in ice skating.
He was among the first to respond on Friday.
“I went no, no, no not him,” Dontanville said. “Why would he be over there? It`s not his jurisdiction. We realized he chose to go.”
He died a hero that day, which was not surprising to those who knew him.
“That`s Garrett,” Dontanville said. “He`s going to go do what needs to be done and he`s going to serve beyond what he`s called to do.”
And even as the church mourned the taking of a life so cherished, they still offered something to the alleged killer – forgiveness.
“Let's take a minute to pray for him,” Dontanville said during the service. “Father we pray for Robert. I’ve never met him. Garrett has never met him. Garrett may never meet him unless he comes to you – unless he seeks forgiveness… You extend forgiveness to him. Although he doesn't deserve it, neither did I.”
The focus now turns to the Swasey family. The devoted husband leaves behinds two young children. Sunday marked his son’s 11th birthday.
“I can't imagine being in his shoes,” Dontanville said. “You’re young. You’re 11 years old. You just lost the most important figure in your life. No one can replace him.”
So far, more than $68,000 has been raised for the Swasey family in an online fundraiser started by the church.
As for a possible motive for the attack, given that it took place at Planned Parenthood, Dontanville said the shooter’s motive is still unknown.
“I don't know what was going on in his mind,” he said. “We could turn it political and some people want to do that. We've just come through the black lives matter, all lives matter, pink lives matter, grey lives matter. And as I said last night, eternal life to me matters. And that's far beyond this.” He adds: “I don't know what was his motive, and I suppose that will come out in time. And we'll see then.”AlertMe