By David Warren
DALLAS (AP) — Memorial services for five officers killed by a gunman in Dallas drew thousands of mourners.
Services were held July 13 for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer Brent Thompson, Dallas police Sgt. Michael Smith and Dallas police Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens — all three slain in downtown Dallas July 7 by a sniper during a march to protest recent fatal shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana by police.
The service for Thompson, 43, drew hundreds of law enforcement officers in crisp formal uniforms to The Potter’s House, the Dallas megachurch headed by celebrity Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Thompson’s wife Emily, a fellow DART officer, told the audience that the shooter, Micah Johnson, was a coward. “You know your hate made us stronger,” she said, speaking of Johnson.
Johnson, 25, was killed when authorities used a robot to detonate an explosive as negotiations faltered. Thompson is the first DART officer killed in the line of duty since the agency’s police force was founded in 1989.
A few hundred mourners gathered for a Catholic funeral service in the suburb of Farmers Branch for Smith, who immigrated from Taiwan and went on to become an Army Ranger before joining the police force in Dallas. He once received a “Cops’ Cop” award from the Dallas Police Association.
Smith was known for his upbeat attitude and compassionate approach to others.
In the Dallas suburb of Plano, mourners were told of Ahrens’ work with the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department and time as semipro football player before moving to Texas and joining the Dallas police force. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Ahrens was known as a gentle giant and a voracious reader whose intelligence was equal to his size.
On July 15, a large U.S. flag hung from the ladders of two fire trucks as hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of Michael Krol, a Michigan native who moved to Dallas to become a police officer.
Law enforcement personnel from across the country attended the service in Plano to honor the 40-year-old Krol.
Krol’s mother said in a statement that he was a caring person who wanted to help others.
And hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the country joined with Navy personnel to honor Patrick Zamarripa.
A traditional Catholic funeral service was held July 16 in Fort Worth for the 32-year-old Zamarripa, who served eight years on active duty in the Navy and then in the reserves before joining the police force.
Dallas police Chief David Brown told those gathered that Zamarripa’s service to his community was deeply personal because he was willing to give his life to help others.