Hundreds of people gathered at a candlelight vigil on New Year’s Day to pay their respects to Zackari Parrish, a sheriff’s deputy who was fatally shot after responding to a domestic violence call in a Denver suburb.
Parrish, 29, was killed on Sunday when a barricaded gunman fired more than 100 rounds in an ambush-style attack. Four other officers were injured in the shooting. The gunman, identified as 37-year-old Matthew Riehl, was killed by police during the standoff.
When Parrish’s wife, Gracie, took the podium to eulogize her husband, she promised that she would raise the couple’s two young daughters to love their father.
“I am overwhelmed by the love and support of the community and of the nation. Never in my world would I have imagined this,” Gracie said through her sobs. “I will do everything in my power, Zack Parrish, to honor you. And I will raise these girls to love you.”
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Partway through her speech, the couple’s 4-year-old daughter reached for her mother’s face and whispered in her ear, “It’s OK, Momma, it’s OK.” The little girl added: “Just be happy.”
Gracie Parrish asked anyone who knew her husband to share stories about him.
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Several of Parrish’s colleagues spoke glowingly about the young officer. “He didn’t flinch, he didn’t back down, he didn’t hesitate,” said Douglas County Sheriff’s Sergeant David Buyers, according to USA Today.
Another officer addressed Gracie Parrish directly. “Even though you’ve lost a husband, you’ve gained the largest family in the world,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about someone walking these girls down the aisle. We’ll be there.”
Parrish will be buried Friday. The funeral service will be held at Cherry Hills Community Church at 11 a.m.