Planned Parenthood shooting victims include Iraq vet who tried to save others

Planned Parenthood shooting victims include Iraq vet who tried to save others

Family and friends mourn Ke’Arre Stewart, Jennifer Markovsky and officer Garrett Swasey in wake of shooting at Colorado Springs facility on Friday

The victims of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs that left three people dead and nine wounded were preliminarily identified by local authorities on Sunday.

Two civilians – a mother of two and an Iraq war veteran – and one police officer were killed in the attack, for which suspect Robert Lewis Dear, 57, was taken into custody. Dear is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to be advised of the charges that could be filed against him.

Jennifer Markovsky, a 35-year-old Hawaii-born resident of Colorado Springs, was killed while accompanying a friend during an appointment at the clinic. Her friend was shot in the hand.

According to her Facebook page, Markovsky had worked at Kmart for 13 years and loved nature photography. She was the mother of a young son and daughter, and married to Paul Markovsky, whom she met in Hawaii while he was stationed there with the US army, the Denver Post reported.

On her profile, Markovsky posted several photographs of her children and expressed pride for her son, who won gold and silver medals in the 2013 Colorado Special Olympics. She was a 1997 graduate of Waianae high school in Hawaii.

Markovsky’s father, John Ah-King, wrote on Facebook: “To my daughter Jennifer I’m going to miss so much, I lost you in a senseless shooting in Colorado Springs, Planned Parenthood.

“Life was too short my beloved daughter, I was waiting to see you soon, I’m going to miss you, my memories of you will live on in my heart and mind! Missing you!!!”

Ah-King told the Denver Post on Sunday that Markovsky was “the most lovable person”. He had messaged her last Thursday to wish her a happy Thanksgiving.

According to authorities, Dear said “no more baby parts” after his arrest, a presumed reference to the recent uproar over Planned Parenthood staffers who allegedly discussed the sale of fetal tissue.

When the shooting started, staff and patients inside the clinic followed classic active-shooter protocol. They went to the back of the building as quickly as they could, called 911 and quieted their cellphones.

The second victim, Iraq war veteran Ke’Arre Stewart, a 29-year-old father of two, ran back inside the clinic after being shot to warn those inside to take cover, his brother Leyonte Chandler told NBC News. Stewart had stepped outside to get better cellphone service when he was shot.

Chandler called his brother a hero, and credited Stewart’s army experience and military instinct for turning back to warn others after being shot.

“I believe that’s his military instinct, you know: leave no soldier behind, leave no civilian behind, just leave no one behind,” Chandler said. “So he ran back inside, trying to help out others.

“I don’t know where he was at, as far as how many more breaths he had, but he knew. And before his time ran out I guess that was his main priority … to help and save other lives.”

Stewart left behind two daughters, aged 11 and seven. A GoFundMe account set up by a friend, Amburh Butler, has raised more than $14,000 in one day on behalf of Stewart’s daughters.

Butler described Stewart as “caring, giving, funny and just a damn good person”.

Stewart grew up in La Vega, Texas, and graduated from La Vega high school in 2004 before joining the army, the Denver Post reported. He was stationed in Fort Hood and completed one tour in Iraq.

Mourners attend a vigil held on the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs’ campus for those killed in Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Mourners attend a vigil held on the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs’ campus for those killed in Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Photograph: Christian Murdock/AP

A full identification of the shooting victims will be released following an autopsy, the Colorado Springs police department said in a statement. All nine people injured in the attack are in good condition and expected to make a full recovery, according to police chief Peter Carey. Of the nine injured, five were officers.

Also killed in the attack was Garrett Swasey, a police officer for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs , who was the first victim identified after the Friday shooting.

Swasey, 44, left behind a wife and two children. He was at the university when he was called to assist with the active shooter situation.

Swasey’s family released a statement on Sunday, saying: “Our loss cannot be expressed in words.

“While the nation now knows Garrett as a hero who gave his life for others, he was also a devoted husband of 17 years and a wonderful father to his two children. His greatest joys were his family, his church, and his profession.”

Originally from Melrose, Massachusetts, Swasey moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating. He became a police officer six years ago, around the time his daughter was born, his father David Swasey told the Boston Globe.

Olympic silver medallist Nancy Kerrigan said on Sunday that Swasey had been like a little brother to her when they were growing up in Massachusetts.

This article titled “Planned Parenthood shooting victims include Iraq vet who tried to save others” was written by Mahita Gajanan in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 30th November 2015 20.46 UTC