Park to honor fallen Deputy Zackari Parrish

Castle Rock facility will bear name of officer killed in shooting

Posted 10/5/18

The town where Deputy Zackari Parrish served as a police officer before joining the Douglas County Sheriff's Office has named its newest park for the fallen officer, who was shot and killed in the …

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Park to honor fallen Deputy Zackari Parrish

Castle Rock facility will bear name of officer killed in shooting

Posted

The town where Deputy Zackari Parrish served as a police officer before joining the Douglas County Sheriff's Office has named its newest park for the fallen officer, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on the final day of 2017.

The Castle Rock Town Council on Oct. 2 unanimously approved naming a community park planned in The Meadows neighborhood the Deputy Zack S. Parrish III Memorial Park. Councilmember Brett Ford was not present for the 6-0 vote.

“It's a good tribute. He was a great defender of us and we appreciate him and his family,” said Councilmember Jess Loban.

The $2.6 million project will break ground near Low Meadow Boulevard and the Aspen View Academy this month and should open in May, said Jeff Smullen, assistant director of parks and recreation for Castle Rock.

Smullen said the town solicited community input to name the park online and received more than 700 submission, 77 percent of which were in favor of naming the park for the deputy. The town suggested some names but had not suggested the one for Parrish, Smullen said.

Parrish served with the Castle Rock Police Department for more than two years before taking a position with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, where he worked for seven months before his death.

Parrish was among five officers and two civilians shot by Matthew Riehl on Dec. 31. Riehl was a mentally ill Highlands Ranch resident known to law enforcement in Colorado and Wyoming.

Parrish and four more officers were attempting to place him on a mental health hold during what they believed was a manic episode when he opened fire on them inside his apartment.

Parrish was the only individual killed in the incident. He left behind a wife, Gracie, and two daughters. Gracie was not able to attend the Oct. 2 council meeting, but Chief of Police Jack Cauley consulted with the family prior to the meeting to decide on the park's name.

“It's quite fitting, after speaking to her about it, because Zack actually took great pleasure in bringing his girls to parks and spending time with them,” Cauley said.

Cauley knew Parrish personally in his time serving with Castle Rock. After Parrish's death he described getting to know the officer, first meeting him in Parrish's final interview with the agency and more as they worked out together in the department's fitness center.

Parrish was hailed as a good officer who loved law enforcement and people and was respected throughout the department. Cauley said Oct. 2 naming the park for Parrish is something members of his organization will “cherish forever.”

The community park will feature picnic pavilions, large playground structures, six pickleball courts, horseshoes pits, cornhole courts, hammocks, turf areas and walking paths, Smullen said.

“It's really,” Smullen said, “right in the heart of that neighborhood.”

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