Planned Parenthood victim died warning others about gunman

Iraq War veteran Ke'Arre Stewart was among three killed in the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shootout Friday. After being shot while outside the clinic, the 29-year-old father ran back inside to tell others to take cover, his brother said. 

  • close
    Korbyn Fair and his mother, Nasya, say a prayer Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the memorial for the victims of Friday's deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
    Daniel Owen/The Gazette
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

After being shot outside the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Iraq War veteran Ke'Arre Stewart ran inside to warn the others..

With his last breaths, his brother said in an interview with NBC, the father of two tried to save the lives of those still in the clinic.

Calling his brother a hero, Leyonte Chandler recounted Mr. Stewart’s involvement in the five-hour standoff. He said Stewart had been outside the building when he was shot.

"He tried to run back inside the building – well, he did – and tell the other people inside, you know, 'Take cover, get down,'" Mr. Chandler said. "People started taking cover, hiding in bathrooms and whatnot."

Stewart is among the three deceased victims from the shooting, in which suspect Robert Lewis Dear allegedly opened fire at the clinic and injured nine others. Stewart was in the clinic that day to accompany his pregnant girlfriend.

Chandler said Stewart had stepped outside to seek cell phone coverage when Mr. Dear began shooting.

"Maybe 10 seconds later, the shots started being fired and he was hit," Chandler said. It was his brother’s military training, he added, that resulted in his heroism towards the other people in the clinic.

"I believe that's his military instinct, you know: Leave no soldier behind, leave no civilian behind, just leave no one behind," he said.

"So he ran back inside, trying to help out help and save other lives."

Stewart served in the Army's Fourth Infantry Division. After being deployed to Iraq, he was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs in 2013, and then discharged the following year.

"He was just a standup guy, he would take a bullet for you," Amburh Butler, a friend and the family spokeswoman told the Associated Press.. "He was the most sincere person I'd ever met." 

Stewart is survived by two daughters, ages 11 and 7, who live in Texas. Jennifer Markovsky was another civilian who died in the shooting, along with Officer Garrett Swasey, who was on duty.

Ms. Markovsky, a Hawaii native, was in the clinic to accompany a friend during the shooting rampage.

Officer Swasey was part of the police department at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, and was called to assist the nearby active shooter situation Friday. He was a six-year veteran of the force.

Swasey also had two children. He was a pastor at the Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs and a former competitive figure skater. In fact, in his childhood, he practiced with figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan, who told reporters Sunday that Swasey was "one of my best friends.”

In past shootings, slain individuals often happen to be those who ran towards the gunfire to help others or alleviate the situation. In a 2013 school shooting in Nevada, for instance, 8th-grade math teacher Michael Landsberry attempted to calm the shooter in front of other students before he was fatally shot.

The five officers and four others injured in the Colorado Springs shooting were hospitalized in good condition, police said. Dear will appear in court Monday.

Chandler, in spite of his grief, said he forgives the gunman.

"It's a hard pill to swallow because he took my only brother from me. That's the only brother that I had, that I grew up with,” he said. “He took that away from me and it's hard but I forgive him. Jesus forgave me, so I have to forgive him."

Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.




Save for later


Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items