Church holds memorial for Colorado police officer killed at Planned Parenthood

Garrett Swasey was remembered at Hope Chapel, the church where he was an elder, on Sunday in a service dedicated to commemorating his life.

Garrett Swasey, a father of two, was shot dead on Friday after responding to a call to Planned Parenthood at Colorado Springs.Facebook

As a video honouring Swasey's life was shown on a large screen at the church, shouts of "what a man!" and "That's our Garrett" swept the church.

Swasey, a police officer at the University of Colorado, was among three people killed when Richard Lewis Dear Jr opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday.

Around 100 people filled Hope Chapel on Sunday celebrating the life of Swasey, who had served the church as one of their church elders with his family since 2001.

"You don't realise how much you love someone until you can't tell them any more," said Hope Chapel elder Scott Dontanville. He told reporters afterwards that while Swasey "wasn't in alignment" with Planned Parenthood's abortion services, he nonetheless rushed to the clinic's aid from UCCS, even though he didn't have to answer the call.

Rachel, Swasey's widow, released a statement yesterday thanking the community for its support and asked for privacy to mourn with their children, Elijah, 10, and Faith, 6. She described Swasey as a hero and devoted father and husband for 17 years.

"We will cherish his memory, especially those times he spent tossing the football to his son and snuggling with his daughter on the couch," she wrote.

That his last act was for the well-being of others "was a tribute to his life," she added.

They were not at Hope Chapel on Sunday, though the church said Rachel was in close contact with the church community.

The service at Hope Chapel follows a candlelit vigil at UCCS and other tributes performed before two basketball games.

Dear's name was only mentioned once during the service, at which point Dontanville responded with an appeal for prayer:

"Let's take a moment to pray for him," he said.