Gardner Honors Fallen Douglas County Deputy

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today spoke on the Senate floor about the horrible tragedy that occurred in Douglas County on December 31st and to honor the life and legacy of fallen Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish.


Click here to view Gardner’s remarks.


Remarks as prepared for delivery:


Mr. President: I rise today to speak about a horrible tragedy that occurred in Douglas County, Colorado in the early hours of December 31st.


A Gunman opened fire on Douglas County Sherriff’s Deputies in what has been described by law enforcement as an “ambush style” attack.


The gunman injured two citizens, as well as Sheriff’s Deputies Michael Doyle, Jeff Pelle, Taylor Davis, and Castle Rock Police Department Officer Thomas O’Donnell.


A fifth officer, Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish heroically gave his life during this ambush in an attempt to save others.


Zack who was 29 years old, is survived by his wife Gracie and their two young daughters.


Zack’s life-long dream was to become a police officer and he attended Arapahoe Community College Law Enforcement Academy part-time, while working at a bank full-time to make this dream come true.


Following graduation, Zack served for two years as an officer at the Castle Rock Police Department and spent the last seven months as a Douglas County Sherriff’s Deputy.


His self-less nature and devotion to his family and friends was a testament to his tireless drive to protect his community. He was what every officer strives to be. Dedicated to the job, persistent… and detailed oriented!


At a vigil honoring Zack earlier this week, his fellow deputies shared Zack’s “knack for finding things other cops missed.” They spoke of “how he always wanted to chase the bad guys.” And how even when it was time to go home, Zack would “stay late to make one more check on patrol.” His family and friends spoke of how Zack was known for his “bear-sized love,” and even more so for his bear-sized hugs!


THESE are the qualities of those who righteously wear the blue uniform. THESE are the qualities that keep the rest of us safe and sound. THESE are the qualities of a local hero. Zack – like all law enforcement officers – went to work each and every day prepared to walk that thin blue line.


Colleagues at the vigil also spoke about how Zack was not only dedicated to the difficult parts of the job, but also spoke about his dedication to lift the spirits of his fellow officers. According to his fellow Deputies, Zack was known as the guy that would “hunt for the best Christmas lights,” It’s that kind of passion, good nature, and of course, love for his community, that Zack will be remembered for.


As we saw on New Years Eve, while the rest of us spend time with family and friends, our brave law enforcement officers are protecting our communities. Their sacrifice is WHY we are able to celebrate with our loved ones.


We owe everything to Zack and law enforcement officers across Colorado and across the country for their service.


When a tragic event like this unfolds, I’m often reminded of the words of Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman who wrote that American law enforcement is the loyal and brave sheep dog, always standing watch for the wolf that lurks in the dark.


Regardless of their personal safety, our law enforcement officers run toward the danger. They are always there to help others and serve our communities. And often through the worst of times they provide hope and safety to our families, including mine.


I will continue to pray for the other four officers and two citizens who were injured in the attack. And we must continue to honor Zack’s memory and support his brothers in blue as they continue his work.


Thank you, Zack, for your devotion to others, and your sacrifice so that others may live. I will continue to pray for your family and look forward to your daughters carrying on your proud legacy.


Mr. President, I yield the floor.  




Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy


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