High school football coach remembers fallen Wayne State officer

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A fallen officer with connections to West Michigan is being remembered fondly by those he leaves behind.

Officer Collin Rose, 29, died Wednesday evening after being shot in the head the previous day. He was a Kalamazoo-native, graduating from Gull Lake High School in 2006. Mark Blaesser was his football coach, and says he found out about the shooting while watching Good Morning America Wednesday morning.

Mark Blaesser, Rose's coach at Gull Lake High School.

Mark Blaesser, Rose's coach at Gull Lake High School.

"I had heard about it, and I knew he had moved to the east side of the state, but I didn’t know he was at Wayne State, and when they said, 'Collin Rose,' I just looked at the TV like, 'Oh my God,'" Blaesser recalled. "And then texts started coming in."

Rose was a always in a good mood, Blaesser said, describing him as always wearing a cockeyed smile. Blaesser remembered that Rose preferred to play defense while on the team.

"He didn't want to play offense because you can't hit people! You get hit there!" Blaesser said. "So he started at free safety for us, he was an all-league performer. I believe he played baseball; just a really cool kid and always wanted to be a police officer."

Rose went to Ferris State University, where he graduated in 2010. He then went to work with the Richland Village Police Department, starting as an intern before being hired. But Rose had his sights on the big city.

Officer Collin Rose. Courtesy photo.

Officer Collin Rose. Courtesy photo.

"He always wanted to make it to the east side of the state in Detroit to help the greater good and be a part of the big picture instead of a one-light village," Blaesser said. "He wanted to be in the mix."

Rose was just about to finish his masters degree in police administration at Wayne State; he was just one credit away from completing his program.

"I really think he was in police work for the betterment, not the power or authority, like that. I think he did it for all the right reasons.”

Blaesser says the tragedy with Rose's death is that he was so young and had so much going for him.

"He was just starting life, engaged to be married, had a job he loved, things obviously were looking up and one really horrible decision by a human takes that away in the blink of an eye," Blaesser said. "It's just brutal to process, and his brother, and his mom and dad...I don't want to imagine what they're going through."

Rose was engaged to be married next October. He actively worked with K-9 units, and his fiancée works at Detroit Dog Rescue. A dog rescued last night was named Rose in his honor.

A GoFundMe page for an Officer Collin Rose Memorial fund was established.

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