The two civilians who were killed when a gunman stormed a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Friday have been identified as an Iraq war veteran and a mother of two.
Ke'Arre Stewart, a 29-year-old Iraq veteran and father of two girls, was accompanying a friend to the Planned Parenthood clinic Friday morning when 57-year-old suspect Robert Dear opened fire on civilians and responding law enforcement officials.
Amburh Butler, a lifelong friend of Stewart's who is also in the military, said that they often exchanged letters when he served in Iraq with the Fourth Infantry Division.
"He would tell me how terrible it was, how many guys he watched die. It was terrible for him," Butler told the AP. "He went someplace where people expect to die, only to come back… and be killed."
"He was just a standup guy, he would take a bullet for you," she added. "He was the most sincere person I'd ever met."
Jennifer Markovsky, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mother of a son and daughter, was also accompanying a friend to the clinic that morning, her father, John Ah-King, told the Denver Post.
Ah-King described his daughter as "kind hearted" and "the most lovable person."
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I just messaged her Thursday to say Happy Thanksgiving."
The third victim, Garrett Swasey, a campus police officer, who was among those who responded to the incident that began shortly before midday Friday, was the first to be identified over the weekend. Another nine people, most of them from law enforcement, were injured in the siege that lasted several hours.
Swasey, who worked as a police officer at the University of Colorado, was also a married father of two. He was remembered at an emotional church service by fellow parishioners on Sunday.
While officials have not confirmed the motives behind the shooting, Planned Parenthood released a statement Sunday saying that Dear "was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion."
After his arrest, Dear allegedly told police "no more baby parts" while delivering a rambling statement, an unnamed law enforcement source told the Associated Press. He is due to appear in court Monday via video link.
Makeshift memorials have been set up outside of the clinic, which remained shuttered on Monday.
Outside the clinic, which is cordoned off by yellow police tape, stands a sign surrounded by flowers and a candle that reads, "In loving memory of Officer Swasey and the two other victims. Rest in paradise."
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