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Community mourns fallen Colorado deputy with Houston ties

HOUSTON – As Colorado mourns a deputy who was killed in a barrage of gunfire while he and several other officers checked out a disturbance early Sunday morning, Houston mourns too.

Douglas County Deputy Zack Parrish III, who was killed in the line of duty, had deep ties to Houston.

His parents are still active members at Second Baptist Church in West Houston. He and his three sisters attended Second Baptist School. Two of his sisters remain in the area and also attend Second Baptist Church. Now, the church is rallying around the family during this tragic time.

“The thing I remember the most vividly about Zack was that he was very gregarious and very likeable, very charming,” said Reagan Reynolds, Parrish’s friend. “It was impossible not to like him if you knew him.”

Reynolds first met Zack Parrish at Second Baptist Church when the family moved into town.  They went to Second Baptist School together and played ball for the school's baseball team.

“He became friends with all my friends immediately and then he started going to school with me as well,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds said that when Parrish met his wife, Gracie, he finished  up early at Dallas Baptist College in order to marry her.

In Colorado, the 29-year-old fulfilled two dreams: building a family with two beautiful young daughters, Caroline and Evie,  and becoming a deputy.

“He, off and on,  when we were in high school in early and college, had mentioned quite often that he wanted to do public service, like being a firefighter or police officer,” said Reynolds.

Authorities say the shooter, 37-year-old Matt Riehl, was killed while exchanging gunfire with SWAT team members. The Associated Press reports that Riehl had railed against  the Douglas County sheriff in a YouTube video just weeks before. 

In Colorado, Parrish’s ultimate sacrifice was being honored with flowers and flags at half-staff.  

“Hearing the news of what happened was kind of shocking and it's hard to know how to deal with it from here,” said Reynolds.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Parrish.  As of this writing, it had exceeded $200,000.  

A link to donate can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/ZParrish