SHAWNEE, Kan. -- The former swim coach of Patrick Rohrer, one of the deputies shot and killed Friday morning, said she remembers her former swimmer well and spoke highly of the man he was long before he became a sheriff’s deputy.
FOX4's Melissa Stern sat down with Ginger Waters to find out more about the man who lost his life in the line of duty.
Rohrer graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in 2001. His former swim coach said he was a great swimmer and, knowing his work ethic, is not surprised at all the he became a law enforcement officer.
“I was shocked, totally, sadness. So sad for him, his family, his children. It’s a horrible thing, a horrible waste. That’s what was going through my mind,” Waters said.
It’s what was going through everyone’s mind after 35-year-old Deputy Patrick Rohrer and 44-year-old Deputy Theresa King were shot in a transport bay while a suspect was being moved from court back to the jail.
“I saw it on the news, but I didn’t recognize his picture,” Waters said.
Waters said she was having a meeting with the athletic director at Blue Valley West where she works now.
“She said, 'Patrick Rohrer, did you know him?' I said, 'Well I had a Pat Rohrer on my team, but I don’t think it’s him.' Then I found out he graduated in 2001, and it sunk in,” Waters explained. “I retired in 2001 -- the same year Patrick graduated.”
Waters also coached him on the Lenexa Lazers team before high school, and said he was on the varsity team at Shawnee Mission Northwest, went to state every year and was a fantastic breaststroke swimmer.
“He was such a nice young man, and I loved my boys. They were like part of my family. It’s just really hard. I’m just shocked. I feel so bad for his parents, and I really want them to know how much he meant to me and the team and obviously the police force and our community,” Waters said.
She said the news is hard to digest and she’ll forever remember her former student.
“We’ve lost somebody who is really a good man,” Waters said. “He was just doing his job and somebody took that life away from him. I’m angry.”
Rohrer and King will be laid to rest on Thursday morning.
FOX4 News, the Love Fund for Children, and Steel City Media radio stations are teaming up to raise money to benefit the families of the Wyandotte County deputies. 100 percent of donations will go directly to the families of Deputy Rohrer and Deputy King.