By Jeff Todd
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– Thousands of people lined the 17-mile procession route for Officer Garrett Swasey throughout Colorado Springs that lasted past dusk on Friday.
Swasey, killed in the Planned Parenthood shooting, was honored Friday for volunteering to rush to the clinic as shots rang out, an act those who knew him say was driven by his sense of purpose and faith.
“We just came out because we wanted to support our community, our law enforcement and we love them and what they do for us,” said Rachel Quick who was standing across from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus hours before the procession passed.
Students, staff and faculty lined Austin Bluff Parkway as the miles long, 35-minute procession passed. When it first reached the campus a bell tower was coincidentally ringing its daily rendition of America The Beautiful.
PHOTO GALLERY: Officer Garrett Swasey Funeral
The procession followed a memorial service to a packed church at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Swasey, 44, was one of three people killed after authorities say Robert Dear opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 27. Four other civilians and five other officers were wounded.
“I’d hold this thing all night if I had to,” said UCCS Senior David Stielow. He made a sign with a friend who knew Officer Swasey that read, “We Love Our UCCS PD.”
Other signs read “UCCS Strong” and “We Are COS” referring to Colorado Springs.
“I am actually surprised to see how many are willing to stand out there for as long as we have to, to show our support,” Stielow said.
“We have an awesome community and it’s great to see everybody out here,” Quick said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.