A look at victims of Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 9:12 PM
A look at victims of Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman killed three people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, including a police officer and two people accompanying friends to the clinic Friday.

Here's a look at the lives of the victims:

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KE'ARRE STEWART

The 29-year-old went with someone to the clinic when he was killed and leaves behind two girls, 11 and 5, who live in Texas, said Amburh Butler, a lifelong friend and family spokeswoman.

Stewart and Butler met when they were 11 in Waco, Texas, and were high school sweethearts, she said. They both joined the Army, with Stewart enlisting right after his high school graduation in 2004, Butler said.

He served in the 4th Infantry Division and was deployed to Iraq, describing the horrors he saw on the front lines in frequent letters he sent to Butler.

"He would tell me how terrible it was, how many guys he watched die. It was terrible for him," she said.

The Army stationed Stewart at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs in 2013, Butler said. He was discharged from the military the following year.

"He went someplace where people expect to die, only to come back ... and be killed," she said.

Butler said she last spoke to her friend Thursday, when he sounded upbeat to be spending Thanksgiving with friends.

"He was just a standup guy, he would take a bullet for you," Butler said. "He was the most sincere person I'd ever met."

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JENNIFER MARKOVSKY

The 36-year-old Colorado Springs woman was accompanying a friend to the clinic when she was killed in the shooting rampage, her father told The Denver Post.

John Ah-King described his daughter as a kindhearted, lovable person with two children. Her husband, Paul Markovsky, released a statement Monday evening recalling her as a devoted mother who always read to her kids and helped them with their homework.

"She was a very caring and compassionate person and patient and understanding parent," Markovsky said of his wife. "She was deeply loved by all who knew her."

"We will miss her; her cooking, crafting and adventurous spirit."

There didn't seem to be anyone home Monday at the house where Jennifer Markovsky grew up in Waianae, Hawaii— a tight-knit community on Oahu's west coast where people still remember her by her maiden name, Jennifer Ah King.

The house abuts Waianae Elementary School, where she attended and where her grandmother taught Japanese language classes. She simply hopped the backyard fence to get to school. Later at Waianae High School, she was active in the JROTC program. She graduated in 1997.

Jodell Okada, who lives a few houses away, hadn't heard that Markovsky was one of the Planned Parenthood shooting victims. "I heard about the shooting ... I just thought, 'not again,' " Okada said. "I feel sad to think that's a person I knew."

Okada had worked with Markovsky at nearby Tamura Super Market. Markvosky's mother still works there.

"She started off as a bagger and went on to be a cashier," Okada recalled of Jennifer Markovsky. "Jennifer was a smart girl. She was a good worker, and she was friendly. ... After she left Tamura's, I lost touch with her."

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GARRETT SWASEY

The police officer at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, died when he was called to assist with an active shooter at the nearby clinic.

Swasey was married with two children and was a co-pastor at Hope Chapel, an evangelical church in Colorado Springs. Before he became an officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

He 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, university police Lt. Marc Pino said.

Swasey was originally from Melrose, Massachusetts. He moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating, 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.

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.

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Associated Press writer Jennifer Kelleher contributed to this report.