Garrett Preston Russell Swasey (November 16, 1971 – November 27, 2015) was an American competitive ice skater, figure skating coach, and police officer. As an ice dancer, he won the 1992 U.S. junior ice dance title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and went on to participate twice more at the senior level. He coached along with Doreen Denny. Swasey was shot and killed in the line of duty during the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting in 2015.

Garrett Swasey
Garrett Swasey.jpg
Personal information
Birth nameGarrett Preston Russell Swasey
Born(1971-11-16)November 16, 1971
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedNovember 27, 2015(2015-11-27) (aged 44)
Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.
EducationMelrose High School
OccupationFigure skater
Ice dance coach
Law enforcement officer
EmployerPlaza of the Rockies ice rink
Chapel Hills Mall ice arena
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Spouse(s)Rachel Swasey
SportFigure skating
Ice dancing
ClubBroadmoor Skating Club
PartnerChristine Fowler-Binder
Hillary Tompkins
Coached bySandy Hess
Renée Roca
Gorsha Sur
Achievements and titles
National finals

Skating careerEdit

Swasey began skating competitively as a youngster in the Boston area under coach Keith Lichtman.[4] One of his closest childhood friends and training mates was Nancy Kerrigan, who later became a two-time Olympic medalist in ladies singles.[5][6] Swasey competed with three ice dance partners in his skating career.

With Christine Fowler, he first participated in the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.[7] They placed 14th in the juniors,[8] prompting them to seek a coaching change.[9] In June of the same year, they moved to Colorado Springs to train with Sandy Hess, a prominent ice dance coach, and the Broadmoor Skating Club.[10][11][12] Assisting Hess as coaches were Renée Roca and Gorsha Sur, who together would become two-time U.S. ice dance champions.[10]

The following season, Fowler and Swasey won the junior ice dance title at the 1992 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Orlando.[2][1] They won a gold medal after they placed third in the compulsory section and advanced to first place after their original and free dances.[13]

In 1993, Fowler and Swasey were mentioned by the Boston Globe among the Olympic hopefuls.[14] However, at the 1993 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, their first event as seniors, they finished 15th in a field of 21. Their coaches, Roca and Sur, won the event after coming out of retirement. Swasey did not participate in the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

In February 1995, Swasey and his new ice dance partner, Hillary Tompkins, competed in the 1995 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed 13th.[15][3] On March 11, the team worked on two Musical on Ice shows at the Forum in Presque Isle, Maine, the hometown of Tompkins.[3][16]

Subsequently, Swasey worked at the Plaza of the Rockies and the Chapel Hills Mall ice rinks.[10] In 2009 he became a University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer. Alongside, he coached with British ice dance champion and World Figure Skating Hall of Fame member, Doreen Denny, at the Sertich Ice Center until his death.[17]

Major competitionsEdit

Event 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
U.S. Championships 14th J. 1st J. 15th - 13th

Life, death and legacyEdit

Early and personal lifeEdit

Swasey was born in Boston and grew up in Melrose, Massachusetts.[18] He graduated from Melrose High School (1989) in the same class as future Melrose Mayor Robert J. Dolan.[19]

At the time of his death, Swasey was married to Rachel (née Aguilar) and was the father of two young children.[20][21] He was an elder at his church in Colorado Springs.[22][23]

Death and funeralEdit

Swasey was shot dead in the line of duty on November 27, 2015, during a mass shooting at a local Planned Parenthood clinic.[24] He was 44 years old.[25][26]

Following Swasey's death, President Barack Obama praised Swasey with "May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save."[27][28][29] Swasey's former schoolmate, Melrose's Mayor Dolan, stated at a press conference that, "He made a real mark on the people that he met in this small town. He was so dedicated to his church and his community."[19]

The funeral, with thousands in attendance, took place on December 4 and was streamed live.[30][31] Speakers included Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and University of Colorado Colorado Springs Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak.[32][33][34]

Aftermath and legacyEdit

On April 15, 2016, almost five months after Swasey's was killed, Swasey's oath as a Deputy Sheriff was notarized, raising questions on procedures of the El Paso County Police Department.[35] The murderer of Swasey, Robert Dear, was found to be incompetent to stand for a trial in May 2016, May 2017, and July 2018.[36][37][38]

U.S. Figure Skating, at the initiative of Broadmoor Skating Club, named the Garrett Swasey Memorial Trophy for the juvenile dance competition champions at the Midwestern Sectional Figure Skating Championships.[39][40][41] First winners of the trophy were Elliana and Ethan Peal.[40][41]

Garrett's widow, Rachel Swasey, lobbied to create a fund for fallen first responders. A bill unanimously passed the Colorado House of Representatives in May 2018.[42] Donors organized to give protective gear to the UCCS Police Department following Swasey's death.[43][44]


  1. ^ a b Hubbard, Steve (January 12, 1992). "Pittsburgh girl fourth in junior dance competition". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Schneider Farris, Jo Ann (January 21, 2015). My Skating Life: Fifty Plus Years of Skating. Lulu Press. ISBN 9781312754782. Retrieved November 29, 2015. Kristine [sic] Fowler and Garrett Swasey were a prominent ice dance team training under Sandy Hess in 1992. They won the 1992 U.S. Junior Dance title.
  3. ^ a b c "Nice on Ice". Bangor Daily News. February 14, 1995. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  4. ^ Allen, Evan; Koktsidis, Alexandra (November 28, 2015). "Colo. shooting victim recalled as brave, kind". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  5. ^ Siese, April (November 30, 2015). "Nancy Kerrigan & Officer Garrett Swasey Were Childhood Friends, And The Way She Described Him Is Beautiful". Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  6. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan devastated by death of childhood friend Garrett Swasey". ABC News. ESPN. December 3, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  7. ^ Powers, John (February 15, 1991). "Yamaguchi pares down Focusing on a single goal, she takes lead in US Figure Skating". The Boston Globe.
  8. ^ "U.S. Championships; Sunday at Minneapolis". USA Today. February 18, 1991. p. 9C.
  9. ^ Clemens, Dana (November 28, 2015). "Former ice dancing partner remembers Officer Swasey as "selfless"". KRDO. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Reichert, Barb (November 30, 2015). "Figure Skating Family Mourns The Loss Of And Remembers Officer Garrett Swasey". U.S. Figure Skating. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  11. ^ Blakinger, Keri; McShane, Larry (November 28, 2015). "Garrett Swasey, cop killed in Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting and dad of two, was once an Olympic ice dancing hopeful". Daily News. New York. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "Colorado Springs officer Garrett Swasey, killed in shooting, was once a champion skater". CNN Wire Service. November 28, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  13. ^ "Slain Officer Swasey was church elder, father of two".
  14. ^ Powers, John (January 10, 1993). "Medalists' achievements will be etched in stone". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016.
  15. ^ Madden, Michael (February 9, 1995). "Davis, Eldredge eye triple crown Past champions 1-2 after short program". The Boston Globe.
  16. ^ "Presque Isle native recalls skating partner killed in Colorado shooting". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  17. ^ Ford, Bonnie. "Ice dancer-turned-cop Garrett Swasey had strived to help others". ESPN. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  18. ^ Michael Martinez and Faith Karimi, CNN (28 November 2015). "Officer Garrett Swasey was champion skater, church elder -". CNN.
  19. ^ a b "Garrett Swasey, killed in Planned Parenthood shooting, was Mass. native". WCVB. November 28, 2015.
  20. ^ Haarer, Ryan (November 28, 2015). "Officer killed in Colorado Springs leaves behind wife, two kids". 9News.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Pulliam Bailey, Sarah (November 28, 2015). "Officer Garrett Swasey, who died in Colo. Planned Parenthood shooting, was a co-pastor, skating champion". Washington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  22. ^ Fieldstadt, Elisha. "Slain Colorado Springs Officer Garrett Swasey Remembered by Family, At Church". NBC News.
  23. ^ Victor, Daniel; Healy, Jack (November 28, 2015). "Garrett Swasey, Officer Killed in Colorado, Is Recalled for Courage and Faith". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  24. ^ Shattuck, Tom (November 29, 2015). "Shattuck: Loss of officer Garrett Swasey felt from Colorado to MelroseTom Shattuck". Boston Herald. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  25. ^ Elfman, Lois. "Slain police officer remembered by skating world".
  26. ^ "Officer killed in Colorado Springs shooting remembered as 'compassionate'". The Guardian. Associated Press. November 28, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  27. ^ "Officer killed in Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting was co-pastor, figure skater". CBS News. November 28, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  28. ^ O'Laughlin, Frank (December 1, 2015). "President Obama Praises Slain Officer Garrett Swasey: "May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save."". Melrose, Massachusetts.
  29. ^ Flores, Reena (November 28, 2015). "Obama pushes for gun control after Planned Parenthood shooting". CBS News. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  30. ^ Kim Nguyen. "Officer Garrett Swasey, UCCS officer killed at Planned Parenthood, remembered for his sacrifice". 7NEWS.
  31. ^ St. Louis-Sanchez, Maria (December 5, 2015). "Thousands show up to honor life of Officer Swasey". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  32. ^ "Funeral for Garrett Swasey today in Colorado Springs". Melrose Free Press.
  33. ^ "Funeral service for officer killed in Planned Parenthood shooting - FOX31 Denver". FOX31 Denver.
  34. ^ KKTV. "End Of Watch: Officer Garrett Swasey Laid To Rest".
  35. ^ Zubeck, Pam (November 8, 2017). "Former El Paso County Sheriff's Office notary says top officials ordered falsifying of hundreds of oath affidavits". Colorado Springs Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2017. When Garrett Swasey rushed into harm's way amid the Nov. 27, 2015, shooting spree at Planned Parenthood that claimed his and two other lives, he couldn't have known his certificate of oath as a sheriff's deputy sat, apparently forgotten, in a box in the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Swasey was sworn as a deputy earlier that year, due to his police officer status at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, but his oath affidavit wasn't notarized nor filed with the Clerk and Recorder's Office until April 15, 2016, nearly five months after he was killed.
  36. ^ Hughes, Trevor (May 11, 2016). "Planned Parenthood shooting suspect found incompetent to stand trial". USA Today. Retrieved 14 November 2017. The man who admitted to killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic here was found incompetent to stand trial Wednesday and indefinitely confined to a state mental hospital. Two state-appointed doctors said Robert Lewis Dear Jr. suffers from the delusion that the federal government has persecuted him for more than 20 years for his anti-government and anti-abortion beliefs.
  37. ^ Egbert, Josh (May 25, 2017). "Admitted Planned Parenthood shooter remains incompetent to stand trial". Fox 21 News. Retrieved November 14, 2017. Dear was once again found incompetent to stand trial.
  38. ^ Dumas, Tyler (July 27, 2018). "Robert Dear again ruled incompetent to stand trial". KOAA News 5.
  39. ^ "U.S. Figure Skating Report of Action Taken by the Board of Directors" (PDF). October 10, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2017. APPROVED the establishment of the Garrett Swasey Trophy for the Juvenile Dance Champions at the Midwestern Sectional Figure Skating Championships
  40. ^ a b Sun, Chhun (November 21, 2016). "Colorado Springs skating club names trophy after police officer killed in line of duty". The Gazette. Colorado Springs. Retrieved November 14, 2017. Called the Garrett Swasey Memorial Trophy, the award will be given to the winners of the juvenile dance competition at the annual Midwestern Sectional Figure Skating Championships. [...] The first winners of the trophy were Elliana and Ethan Peal, who were honored Thursday at the sectional finals at the Broadmoor World Arena.
  41. ^ a b Berkowitz, Karen. "North Shore ice dancing siblings energized by national win". Highland Park News. Pioneer Press. Coincidentally, when the siblings won the U.S. Midwestern title in the juvenile division in 2017, they became the first recipients of an award established in honor of Garrett Swasey, a one-time competitive skater and friend of their father. Swasey went on to become a law enforcement officer in Colorado and was killed responding to a protest at a Planned Parenthood, Rob Peal said. The award was established in his honor.
  42. ^ Konopasek, Michael (May 2, 2018). "Bill to create fund for Colorado families of fallen first responders passes House committee". KDVR. Chicago: Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved September 12, 2018. Rachel Swasey, the widow of fallen police officer Garrett Swasey, provided tearful testimony on Wednesday in front of a Colorado House committee. Swasey is urging lawmakers to support a bill that would ease the financial burden of Colorado families of fallen first responders. The legislation, Senate Bill 247, has passed unanimously in the Senate and the House Committee on Local Government. It is now set to go for a second reading on the House floor.
  43. ^ Sun, Chhun (September 28, 2016). "UCCS police all smiles in receiving potentially life-saving gear". The Gazette. Denver: Clarity Media Group. Retrieved September 12, 2018. On Wednesday, Shield 616 - a local nonprofit that support law enforcement agencies - delivered tactical-gear kits to all members of the university's police force and its chief, Mark Pino. The gear included a ballistic helmet, a specialized vest and optics designed to give officers a better view of an active shooter. The gear was donated nearly a year after UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey rushed to the scene of a five-hour active shooting situation at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, he was among three people killed Nov. 27, but his death led to an outpouring of love and support for law enforcement.
  44. ^ Galer, Kyla (February 13, 2017). "52 more CSPD officers to get active shooter gear through local non-profit". KKTV. Atlanta: Gray Television. Retrieved September 12, 2018.