'She Was a Compassionate and Dedicated Person': High School Friend of Jennifer Markovsky, Woman Killed in Planned Parenthood Shooting
Markovsky had accompanied a friend to Planned Parenthood
A friend of Jennifer Markovsky’s, the 35-year-old woman killed in Friday’s attack at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, describes Jennifer as an optimistic and generous woman who would always help others.
Jennifer was accompanying a friend to the clinic when she was killed along with University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey and 29-year-old Iraq Army veteran Ke’Arre Stewart. The alleged gunman, Robert Dear, opened fire at civilians and police officers who responded to the scene. Nine others were wounded.
“That is exactly Jen, helping out a friend,” high school friend Josh Angeles tells PEOPLE. “She was definitely a giving person and would help people out.”
Jennifer was a mother of two who loved sewing clothes and baking for her family, says Angeles.
“It made you feel good to see her laugh or make her laugh,” he says. “She was so sweet you couldn’t not like her. She always thought of the world as half-full as opposed to half-empty. She was the salt of the earth. I just can’t believe it.”
Angeles and Jennifer attended Waianae High School on Oahu’s west coast. Both were active in the JROTC program.
“She was really dedicated to the program,” says Angeles. “She was a very determined girl. She tried hard, and always seemed like she was proving her worth to the team.”
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Angeles says he reached out to Jennifer via Facebook two years ago. By that time she was married to her husband Paul, a military contractor, and had moved to Colorado Springs.
“She said, ‘Oh My God you remember me’ and I was like of course I remember you Jen,” he says. “She said things are going great, she had a loving husband who was stationed there.”
Paul Markovsky released a statement describing his wife as “a very caring and compassionate person and patient and understanding parent.”
“She was deeply loved by all who knew her. She was always helping the kids do homework and reading books with them. We will miss her; her cooking, crafting and adventurous spirit,” the statement added.
Jennifer’s father, John Ah-King, learned of his daughter’s death through his other daughter, who was told by friends.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Ah-King told the Denver Post. “I just messaged her Thursday to say happy Thanksgiving.”
“She was the most lovable person,” he said. “So kind-hearted, just always there when I needed her.”
Jennifer’s sister, Elaine Hafner, shared on Facebook Monday that her parents and grandmother, who live in Hawaii, were looking forward to seeing Jennifer in the New Year. “Instead, we will never again get the chance to see her back in the islands,” Hafner wrote. “She will only be in our memories instead of creating new ones with us.”
“Her daughter and my son is only one month apart,” Hafner added. “Knowing that her beautiful kids will be missing their mother breaks my heart. Gone are the pictures, letters, text messages, Facebook, visits and phone calls.”
Dear, 57, was arrested Friday afternoon after a five-hour-long standoff at the clinic. He is charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. He made his first court appearance on Monday.