DALLAS — Valerie Zamarripa holds on to her son's belongings, his pictures, his military dog tag and his Navy hat.
And she holds on to the last words he said to her.
”I’ll always remember those last words... 'I love you mom,'” said Valerie Zamarripa.
Six years ago, on July 7, Officer Patrick Zamarripa was listening to a Rangers game in his squad car and watching protesters march in Downtown Dallas. Dash camera video shows the moment he hears gunfire jumps out of the car and runs towards it.
Within seconds, he was shot and killed by a gunman targeting police. Five officers died that day.
"I will keep saying his name until my last breath and keep his memory alive,” said Zamarripa.
Zamarripa says every time she hears of a mass shooting her heart sinks knowing all too well what it feels like to lose someone to gun violence.
On Monday, she learned of the shooting in Illinois, where multiple people were killed and injured in a 4th of July parade.
”It just makes me so angry that we can’t even enjoy our lives and be happy and take our kids to something they can enjoy," said Zamarripa.
She says every time an officer is shot in the line of duty, it takes her breath away.
“You just start praying and praying thinking 'oh no, not again not again.'”
Like so many other victims’ families, she holds on to the memories. Patrick, a Navy veteran loved the 4th of July and it was the last holiday he celebrated with his family before he was killed.
”He loved the 4th of July because he loved his country and loved serving in the Navy and was proud to be an American as he always said," said Zamarripa.
She said there are good days and bad days and when she struggles to get through the difficult times, she remembers how Patrick lived his life serving others and she says the best way to honor him is to spread a message of love not hate.
“Just remember to be kind to one another.”