Who were they? Family, friends mourn slain Dallas officers

News 8's Lauren Zakalik spoke to family and friends of the five officers killed in Thursday's ambush in downtown Dallas.

Rick Zamarripa is the textbook definition of a proud dad.

He said his son Patrick made it easy.  "Patrick’s the type of person that if he had a dollar in his pocket, he’d give it to you if you needed it. He’d bend over backwards," Rick said.

Patrick Zamarripa was a musician, a military veteran who'd served in Iraq, a dad, a husband and a Dallas police officer.

When his family saw what was happening Thursday night on the news, they frantically texted and called him.

"I said 'Patrick, please, please call us. Your dad’s really worried, he's crying. We need to hear from you,'" recalls his step-mother, Maria Zamarripa.

They never did hear from him.

Police say Patrick, a graduate of Paschal High School in Fort Worth, was one of five officers fatally shot by a sniper as he patrolled a protest downtown.

DART officer Brent Thompson, a grandfather, died too.

"He's going to be missed," said Randy Ratliff, chief of Corsicana ISD Police. "He's a great officer and will be missed."

Friends said Thompson comes from a well-known family in Corsicana, where he'd worked for the Sheriff's office and the school district.

"He was running to the danger when other people run away from danger," said Corsicana Police Chief Robert Johnson.

Friends recall Thompson as a fun-loving family man. DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said Thompson is the first ever DART officer to be killed in the line of duty.

DPD Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens also passed away.

"You know, this is the guy we called 'Meat.' A big guy, invincible," said Sr. Cpl. Jaime Castro.

Castro and Ahrens had been friends since their rookie days. Castro recalls showing up to the hospital Thursday.

"The minute I walked in and they said 'Ahrens,' I was like-- it can't be him," Castro said.

Ahrens, a father of two, was a friend to many, known for his humor and crooked smile. His wife is in law enforcement, too.

"She's having a real hard time and understandably so because we thought he was going to make it," said DPD Sgt. Mike Mata.

Officer Michael Krol didn't make it either. His mother Susan Ehlke said he'd just turned 40.

"It's numbing," said his uncle, Ron Fegan. "It's numbing, you know? You just can't accept it."

His family in Michigan said he'd moved to Dallas because he loved it here and he loved the people.

"I just wanted him to be honored for the sacrifice he made," said his brother-in-law, Brian Schoenbaechler. "He was there that day to protect those people."

And friend say Sgt. Michael Smith, a doting father to his two daughters, was an Army Ranger and a man devoted to Christ. He'd recently talked about finally retiring. His friend Liz Brock offered this piece of scripture, feeling this is what Smith would've said had he been given the chance.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:13,14)."

"These five officers didn’t deserve to die, they didn’t," said Maria Zamarripa.

Those five officers were connected by their commitment to keeping the public safe. Their families are now connected by unimaginable pain and loss.

"What people need to understand this needs to stop," said Rick Zamarripa. "I don't care if you're white, black, blue, purple, whatever. We’re all God’s creatures. God put us here. We’re all the same."

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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