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​Officer killed in Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting was co-pastor, figure skater

Last Updated Nov 29, 2015 12:11 AM EST

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Faith led Garrett Swasey to a career in public service and pastoral care, and duty led him to a Planned Parenthood clinic where he was gunned down.

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University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey.

UCCS

The 44-year-old Swasey was the first of three victims to be identified in the shootings Friday at the clinic.

Married with two children, Swasey worked as a police officer at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. He was there when he was called to assist with an active shooter at the nearby clinic.

Early Saturday morning, law enforcement officers gathered for a solemn procession to take Swasey's body from the shooting scene to the El Paso County coroner's officer, according to CBS affiliate KKTV.

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Law enforcement officers line the side of a road in Colorado Springs, Colorado as the body of fallen police officer Garrett Swasey is taken to the coroner's office on Saturday, November 28, 2015.
KKTV

At the University of Colorado, Swasey was known for going out of his way to help, including recently stopping to help someone in a serious car accident just off campus even though he was off duty and headed home, Lt. Marc Pino said. Pino also recalled that Swasey was disappointed he wasn't more involved with responding to the Waldo Canyon wildfire, which destroyed over 340 homes and killed two people in 2012.

"Garrett was always that person who was wanting to be the first one there helping people out," he said.

Swasey was originally from Melrose, Massachusetts, where Police Chief Michael Lyle said he dedicated much of his life to helping others.

He moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skater, his father told the Boston Globe. He became a police officer six years ago, around the time his daughter was born, 73-year-old David Swasey said.

"He was a great dad," Swasey told the newspaper. "I mean, a super dad. Everybody in the police department loved him. Anybody who ever met him loved him. He was a great guy, a great person."

As a skater, Garrett Swasey won a national championship in the junior ranks and competed in the U.S. Championships at least three times, his father said.

Swasey was a co-pastor at Hope Chapel, an evangelical church in Colorado Springs.

He and his wife, Rachel, began attending in 2001, according to a bio on the church's website. "As they raise their son, Elijah, and daughter, Faith, they view the members of the church as their family," the bio reads.

"Here's a guy who worked full time as a police officer, and then gave a great amount of time to his local church and didn't get a dime for it," the Rev. Scott Dontanville, a co-pastor who knew Swasey for 15 years, told The New York Times.

Dontanville told the Globe that he and Swasey, a fan of the New England Patriots, often would tease each other about football since Dontanville roots for the Denver Broncos.

"That's something he would always give us trouble for on Sunday morning," he told the newspaper. "He was an awesome man. ... Great father, great husband, good friend - caring, compassionate."

President Barack Obama praised Swasey in a statement released by the White House: "May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save -- and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing."

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the shootings were a crime against women receiving health care services at Planned Parenthood.

In a statement Saturday night, Lynch called the attack not only a crime against the local community but a crime against law enforcement seeking to protect and to serve, against other innocent people, and against the rule of law as well as all Americans' right to safety and security.

The nation's top law enforcement officer said federal officials stand ready to offer any and all assistance to the district attorney and state and local law enforcement in Colorado as they move forward with their investigation.

"And in the days ahead, our thoughts and prayers will be with the victims of this horrific attack - including Officer Garrett Swasey, who gave his life in order to keep others safe," Lynch said. "We wish a speedy recovery for those who were injured, and peace and strength for the loved ones of the fallen."

Little was known about the other two people who were killed or the nine who were wounded. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains released a statement that indicated none of the other victims worked at the clinic.

CBS affiliate KKTV reported the names of the other two people killed would likely not be released before Monday, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey.

Five police officers and four civilians were wounded in Friday's shooting. Police said late Saturday there were also three officers who were injured in other ways. All were in good condition and expected to recover.

There were 24 other people who were evacuated unharmed from the clinic. In addition, police say 300 people sheltered in place at a nearby shopping center, including a grocery store, over several hours as police responded to the shooting.

Colorado Springs Fire Department Chief Chris Riley visited four injured officers Friday night. All had been shot but were talking and expected to recover, he said.

"Their spirits are good," Riley said after visiting them. "They're obviously in pain. But they're alive and talking to us. They're heroes. Absolute heroes."

Six police officers and dispatcher from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs attended a campus basketball game Saturday and stood for a moment of silence for Swasey. None of the officers talked to reporters after the ceremony, though one cried into the shoulder of the school mascot.

The suspected shooter, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, surrendered to authorities about five hours after the shooting and standoff began.

A law enforcement source told CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues that as Dear was being taken into custody he said "no more baby parts."

He was being held without bond Saturday at the El Paso County Jail and was expected to make his first court appearance Monday.