Deputy killed in Colorado ambush lived in North Carolina

Deputy Zackari Parrish

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Zackari Parrish, the deputy killed after a barricaded suspect opened fire at an apartment complex in Denver, had ties to North Carolina, according to WSOC.

Investigators say Matthew Riehl opened fire in an ambush on Parrish and other deputies early Sunday morning in a Denver suburb.

Parrish attended Weddington Middle School and Metrolina Christian Academy.

“Zack Parrish was an incredible student during his time at Metrolina Christian Academy,” said Rev. Rick Calloway, who is the head of the academy. “His passion for the Lord and for others was always evident. We at Metrolina Christian Academy extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the Parrish family during this difficult time.”

Parrish was also a player for the Union Sabers, a travel team that won a national championship in Cooperstown, New York.

As soon as former coach Brian Stickley met Parrish, he knew he was special.

“He was just a fantastic kid,” Stickley said.

Stickley coached Parrish on the Union Sabers and his son was Parrish’s best friend.

“When you’re a parent, you want your kids to grow up with good people,” Stickley said. “We were very pleased Zack Parrish was in our son’s life.”

“He loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was first and foremost in his life. He walked that walk, he didn’t just talk it,” he said.

Family members and friends are turning to their faith, struggling to cope with the killing of the deputy and father of two.

Even though he hadn’t lived in the area for years, Parrish’s smile, personality, kindness, and manners left an impression on Metrolina Christian Academy, the small Union County school, and on his former coach.

“We got to start caring about one another,” Stickley said. “We lost a great ambassador of that in Zack Parrish.”