Ke'Arre Stewart told people to "get down" when shooting erupted at clinic, sister says
Jennifer Markovsky, mother of two, "lived for her kids," her sister-in-law tells local paper
Garrett Swasey rushed 10 miles to the scene to help fellow officers, police say
Iraq War veteran Ke’Arre Stewart had just learned he was having a third child when a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, his sister says.
He and his girlfriend had just received the news and Stewart was outside trying to get better cell phone reception when the gunman mounted his deadly attack, his sister, Temprest Lloyd, told CNN in a Sunday phone interview. Stewart was one of three people killed Friday by bullets allegedly fired by Robert Dear.
“I guess about 10 to 15 minutes before his life was taken, he just found out he was going to have a baby,” she said.
Lloyd said Stewart texted her while he was at the clinic. She’s since learned from police and the coroner that her brother, a 29-year-old father of two, fell back on his military training and was able to save lives before Dear allegedly took his.
“I see that he was able to tell everybody to get down … so he was able to save a lot of lives and stop other people from possibly losing their lives,” she said. “I know him. I know that’s what he would have naturally done. And after hearing everything, I’m very proud of my brother. He’s an honorable man.”
Stewart has two daughters, 5 and 11, his sister said. They are living in Texas, where Stewart grew up before joining the Army. He was stationed at Fort Carson, just outside Colorado Springs, in 2013 and was discharged from the Army last year, CNN affiliate KKTV reported.
His daughters meant the world to him, said Amburh Butler, a longtime friend who started a gofundme page to raise money for them after the shooting.
Once, she said, Stewart quit a job because his boss wouldn’t give him time off to attend his daughter’s ballet recital.
“I thought that was amazing. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. … That’s probably the best story I can share about him, how he was as a father,” Butler told CNN’s “AC360.”
Stewart wasn’t the only hero in the deadly attacks that left nine people wounded. It was no surprise to anyone who knew him that Officer Garrett Swasey met his end trying to help people. The 44-year-old University of Colorado-Colorado Springs officer rushed to the scene, roughly 10 miles away, to aid his fellow officers who were under fire.
“There was no way any of us could have kept him here,” campus Police Chief Brian McPike said at a Saturday vigil for Swasey. “He was always willing to go. … He had an enthusiasm that was hard to quell.”
That enthusiasm extended to his civilian life. He derived great joy from family and church, where he played guitar and served as an elder, his wife of 17 years said in a statement.
“We will cherish his memory, especially those times he spent tossing the football to his son and snuggling with his daughter on the couch,” Rachel Swasey’s statement said.
Family also meant the world to Jennifer Markovsky. The third victim in Friday’s attack was a Waianae, Hawaii, native who moved to Colorado Springs when the military stationed her husband there, sister-in-law Julia Miller told The Gazette.
Markovsky, 35, enjoyed taking her children, 6 and 10, on hikes and enjoyed baking and arts and crafts, Miller told the paper.
“She lived for her kids,” Miller said.
Markovsky was accompanying a friend who had a Friday appointment at the Colorado Springs clinic, CNN affiliate KHNL reported. The friend was shot in the hand, according to the station.
CNN’s Dan Simon, Amanda Watts, Christopher Lett, Justin Lear, Michael Martinez, Faith Karimi and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.