A Newlywed, a War Vet, a 'Big Guy with A Big Heart': Loved Ones Remember the 5 Victims of the Dallas Shooting
Five officers were killed by a sniper during a Black Lives Matter protest
One was an army vet who served three tours of duty as a military policeman. One had moved from Michigan to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a street cop. One had recently gotten married.
The five police officers killed by sniper fire Thursday night came to work for a Black Lives Matter protest to protect the right of Americans to peaceably assemble. They ended up victims of what President Barack Obama called a “vicious, calculated, and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
The attack capped off a violent week marred by high-profile police shootings in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota. At a Friday press conference, Dallas Police Chief David Brown called for peace between officers and the communities they serve.
Said Brown: “All I know is that this must stop – this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
Patrick Zamarripa, 32
Dallas police officer Zamarripa’s leaves behind a daughter, Lyncoln, and was the stepfather of a son, Dylan. The Texas native was in the Navy for 10 years, serving three tours in Iraq.
According to friends, he loved his country and his job. “Every time you’d see him, he’d give you a ‘bro hug.’ Just a really nice guy,” longtime friend Johnny Hayward tells PEOPLE.
Adds friend Amina Barclay, “He always had a smile on his face.”
Brent Thompson, 43
Brent Thompson, an officer with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police, had recently gotten married to a fellow police officer, DART Chief James Spiller told the Today show.
“This is very heartbreaking for us, not only because of that reason, but because we lost a member in blue,” Spiller said.
He added, “Brent was a great officer and he will definitely be missed.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Thompson was an international police liaison officer for DynCorp International for approximately five years, where he trained and mentored police in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Michael Krol, 40
Michael Krol’s brother-in-law, Brian Schoenbaechler, tells PEOPLE the 40-year-old officer was a kindhearted, selfless, quiet man who moved more than 1,000 miles to fulfill a lifelong goal of being a street cop. He joined the Dallas Police Department in 2008.
Once a standout basketball player for his high school team, Krol had also worked for a time as a home healthcare worker before joining the Dallas Police Department. He leaves behind his longtime girlfriend, Marie.
Says Schoenbaechler, “He was a big guy with a big heart.”
Michael Smith, 56
Fifty five-year-old Michael Smith leaves behind his wife of 17 years and their two girls, age 14 and 10, according to a GoFundMe page started by family friends.
Smith joined the Dallas Police Department in 1989 and was an army veteran before becoming an Army Ranger, according to local media reports.
Lorne Ahrens, 48
Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens was a 14-year veteran of the department according to Dallas Police.
A colleague of Ahrens tells PEOPLE the officer died Thursday night after being shot by a sniper’s bullets.
The Dallas officer – who requested anonymity – described Ahrens, who is survived by his wife, Katrina, as a “salt of the Earth type” who was deeply religious and loved guitar-driven rock music. Ahrens died, the officer said, “doing the job he loved.”
Prior to his tenure with Dallas PD, Ahrens was a former member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Sergeant Bob Boese said that Ahrens has served more than 10 years with the LASD and described him as a “highly regarded and respected public servant.”