Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 6:08 AM
By: Matt Naham, Rare.us
LITTLETON, Colo. — Gracie Parrish, the widow of the 29-year-old Colorado police officer who was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve in Douglas County, said she never imagined the love and support across America would be like this.
Parrish stepped up to a podium at Mission Hills Church in Littleton on Monday night and spoke to the crowd that had gathered there to pay their respects to her husband, Zackari Parrish.
Through tears, she thanked everyone at the church and also asked friends, family and colleagues of her husband to come forward and tell stories about him.
“I am overwhelmed with by the love and support of the community and of the nation. Never in my world would I have imagined this,” she said, according to KUSA. “And I will raise my girls to love you.”
The most moving moment of the vigil came when Parrish’s 4-year-old whispered in her ear.
“It’s OK, Mama, it’s OK. Just be happy,” the girl said.
“I will do everything in my power, Zack Parrish, to honor you. And I will raise these girls to love you,” Gracie Parrish said.
President Donald Trump reacted on Twitter Sunday afternoon to the news of Parrish’s death in the line of duty by sending condolences to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office victims and their families.
“My deepest condolences to the victims of the terrible shooting in Douglas County @DCSheriff, and their families. We love our police and law enforcement – God Bless them all! #LESM” he said.
Parrish was killed and four others law enforcement officers were wounded Sunday, New Year’s Eve. Two civilians were also injured.
The shooting happened after deputies were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance in Highlands Ranch, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) said on Twitter. The gunman was also shot and killed.
Shots were fired in the course of the investigation at the Copper Canyon Apartments, a landscaped complex 16 miles (28 kilometers) south of Denver, the sheriff’s office said. Residents in the vicinity were advised to stay inside and avoid exterior walls and windows.
A hospital where three people were taken for treatment says those people suffered noncritical injuries. Another nearby hospital said it received four patients but wouldn’t release their conditions.
The DSCO shared video on Twitter of a motorcade procession for the fallen deputy.
Officers said the shooter was Matthew Riehl, 37. Riehl died Sunday during what officials called an ambush at his apartment building in Highlands Ranch. He fired more than 100 rounds in his apartment before he was killed by a SWAT team, authorities said.
Authorities reportedly had been contacted with concerns about Riehl’s mental health over a month before the violence Sunday; however, Riehl was never held for mental evaluation.
Riehl was honorably discharged from the Wyoming Army National Guard in 2012 and was an Iraq War veteran.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.