DALLAS - The 5 police officers that were killed in Thursday night’s ambush shooting in downtown Dallas have been identified.
A DART police officer, 43-year-old Brent Thompson, was fatally shot during the deadly ambush. He is the first ever DART officer to die in the line of duty.
DART Police Chief James Spiller described Thompson as a "courageous" and "great guy." The agency redirected their home page to express their grief and honor the officer who had been with DART since 2009.
Thompson had six grown children from a previous marriage and had recently welcomed his third grandchild, Tara Thornton, a close friend of Thompson's 22-year-old daughter, told the Associated Press. He lived an hour's drive south of Dallas, in Corsicana.
"He was a brave man dedicated to his family," said Thornton. "He loved being a police officer. He instantly knew that's what he wanted to do. He knew he wanted to save lives and protect people. He had a passion for it."
Chief Spiller also said Thompson was married just two weeks ago and his wife, Emily, also works for the police force. She was not on duty during the protest.
Patrick Zamarripa, 32, was a five-year DPD veteran and served three tours in Iraq with the Navy, according to the Associated Press.
He told his mother he wanted to be a police officer. Zamarripa lived that dream and died doing what he loved.
"I don't want this happening to anybody else going through what we're going through right now," said Zamarripa's mom, Valerie. "Because now, we're minus one."
"Patrick would bend over backward to help anybody. He'd give you his last dollar if he had it. He was always trying to help people, protect people," his father, Rick Zamarripa, told AP by phone Friday. "As tough as he was, he was patient, very giving."
He would have turned 33 next month and was a married father of a 2-year-old little girl and school-aged stepchild. He reportedly joined the Navy after high school in Fort Worth and served eight years on active duty and then in the reserves, according to the Navy.
Vice Admiral Robin Braun, Chief of Navy Reserve, said in a statement, "The Navy family and, indeed, all of America grieve at the senseless loss of MA2 Zamarripa and his fellow police officers."
After doing security work in the Navy, a police career seemed a natural fit once he returned to Texas in 2009. Zamarripa joined the Dallas force and recently was assigned to downtown bicycle patrols, his father said.
Zamarripa realized policing was a dangerous job. His father recently put him in touch with an in-law who works elsewhere in government, hoping his son might leave the force.
"'No, I want to stay here,"' he said, according to his father. "'I like the action."'
When Rick Zamarripa heard about the shootings, he texted his son, as he had many times before to ensure he was OK. This time, for the first time, he got no response.
Zamarripa's final tweet was just days ago on July 4th. He tweeted, "Happy Birthday to the greatest country on the face of this planet. My beloved America!"
His mother recalled hearing her son's voice, just hours before he died.
"My license plate had broke and it said Navy mom and he said, 'We'll I'll get you one when I go onto base,' and I said ok that's fine," Valerie recalled. "And he said, 'Well I love you mom,' and I said, 'I love you too baby. Be careful." And that was yesterday afternoon."
"We still need good policeman around. Yes we do," said his sister, Laura. "Especially to fill the shoes of the ones who are no longer around."
Zamarripa was born and raised in Fort Worth. He played the trumpet in a mariachi band and played baseball for Paschal High School, where he graduated in 2001. He was engaged to be married to his fiance.
A friend shared a short video of Zamarripa dancing to music in his patrol car.
Michael Krol, 27, was a metro Detroit native who has been a DPD officer since 2007. He previously worked as a sheriff's deputy in the Detroit area.
His mother released a statement saying her son was "living a dream of being a police officer... He knew the danger of the job but he never shied away from his duty."
“We are saddened by the loss of the dedicated officers in Dallas-one of whom was a former member of this agency-and also the wounding of the other officers,” Wayne County (Mich.) Sheriff Beny Napoleon said in a statement. “Those officers made the ultimate sacrifice and died honoring their oaths to protect and serve. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and also the Dallas Police Department.”
Mike Smith was an army veteran before dedicating nearly 30 years of his life to the Dallas Police Department.
About 50 people gathered at Mary Immaculate church Friday afternoon to pray for the smith family, who are members of this close-knit congregation.
Friends of the family say mike smith was a quiet man, who always put his wife and daughters first.
“I just think I started crying and praying because I have great faith I know he's in heaven,” said family friend Liz Hess.
“Everyone's been asking what can we do to help? We already put together a meal calendar and it's already full for the next three months,” said family friend Barbara Durkee.
So Durkee decided to start a GoFundMe page. The goal is to raise $50,000 to help pay for funeral expenses and set up a fund for the family. She says it’s the least they can do to support the family of a man, who died protecting others.
Smith and his wife were married for 17 years and has two young daughters, ages 14 and 9.
A family spokesman said the Smiths appreciate the community's support and prayers and respectfully asks for time to grieve. Funeral arrangements are being finalized.
Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens and his wife lived in Burleson. He served as a Dallas Police Department officer for 14 years.
Lorne Ahrens was shot by a sniper as the peaceful march was coming to an end. He was rushed to Baylor Hospital where he later died.