LITTLETON, Colo. - Hundreds gathered in Littleton to pay their respects to Douglas County Sheriff's deputy Zachari Parrish who was killed in the line of duty on New Year's Eve.
A candle-light vigil was held at Mission Hills Church where Parrish and his family would attend on a regular basis. The church was packed with family, friends and those in the community who wanted to show their support. So many people showed up that the vigil had to be moved into a larger room.
Parrish's wife and dozens of others who knew the beloved deputy spoke at the procession about fond memories they had together. Tears and laughter were shared from the many different stories.
A close friend of Parrish and his family Laura Downey says three words she would use to describe Parrish are fun, loving, and caring. "He had a love for his family utmost and foremost to his kids," Downey says. "He had a love for God and he had a love for his job and every time we spent time together it was always about those three things."
One of the speakers Monday night was Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock who wishes he had more deputies like Parrish, "He was a young, eager, aggressive officer that wanted to work hard and do the right thing."
Sheriff Spurlock also shared with the crowd the final moments leading up to the tragic death. After listening to Parrish's body camera footage, he says the fallen deputy was trying to help the man who would end up taking his life. "He was reaching out to the individual," Spurlock says. "Based upon the words that he was saying the tone that he had you could tell that he was there to try and help him." The sheriff says Parrish was leading the efforts."You could also tell that he was there with four officers and he was the one leading the pack."
The night ended with the candle-light vigil and as people left they signed banners for the family to let them know the life and service of their loved one will never be forgotten.