Profiles in Courage: Honoring the Lives of the 5 Fallen Dallas Police Officers
July 12, 2016
The five police officers killed by a gunman Thursday night in downtown Dallas had varying personalities and styles but shared a passion for their profession.
Lorne Ahrens, 48, Dallas Police Department
Ahrens had been with the Dallas Police Department since January 2002, according to department records.
"He was always one of the happy ones, with a smile on his face," said a fellow officer who often saw him around the department’s Central station.
Steven Stribley, a Dallas patrol officer and a state Fraternal Order of Police vice president, said Ahrens was “an incredible loving and devoted husband and father. Greatly respected veteran of the department."
The 48-year-old officer was married to Detective Katrina Ahrens from the crimes against persons division. The couple lived in Burleson with their two children: 10-year-old Sorcha and 8-year-old Magnus.
Laszlo Rakovszky, a southwest patrol officer, said Lorne Ahrens was a true cop, but also a “a big teddy bear.”
Michael Krol, 40, Dallas Police Department
Being one of the blue was his dream: “He was all in, he was all in.”
Michael Krol, 40, an eight-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was among those killed Thursday night in downtown Dallas. State troopers showed up at his sister’s door in Wixmon, Mich., at about 2:30 a.m. Friday with word of his death.
His extended family gathered Friday to mourn at his mother’s home in Redford, a Detroit suburb. Susan Ehlke was too upset to talk. Instead, she issued a handwritten statement.
“He knew the danger of the job, but he never shied away from his duty as a police officer,” she wrote. “He was a great caring person and wanted to help people. A wonderful son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend."
Krol had always wanted to be a police officer, but he had to work for it, said his brother-in-law, Brian Schoenbaechler of Atlanta.
Michael Smith, 55, Dallas Police Department
He consistently received outstanding performance awards, including the “Cops’ Cop” award from his fellow police officers in the Dallas Police Association.
Married almost 20 years, with two children ages 14 and 10, Smith was a couple years away from retirement from the police department.
In an interview with CBS News, Smith’s youngest daughter, Caroline, age 10, recalled the last time she saw her dad. Before he went to work, Smith always said goodbye to his daughters.
“He said to me, ‘What if this is the last time you ever kiss me or hug me?’ ” Caroline told CBS News. “It just felt different to me. I thought something bad was going to happen.”
In addition to his nearly three decades of service with the Dallas Police Department, Smith was a seven-year Army veteran.
“He loved his job and the guys on the force, and he loved his wife and kids,” said Vanessa Smith. “I can’t imagine what his wife and daughters are going through. You just don’t expect it. It’s devastating.”
Brent Thompson, 43, DART Police
Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old veteran with seven years as a Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer, is remembered by his boss and colleagues as superb officer and a “great guy,” with experience in the security field from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thompson married a fellow DART officer in the past two weeks, said James Spiller, DART police chief. Several DART employees shared how happy Thompson was about his recent wedding.
Thompson patrolled downtown Dallas. He was assigned to that location because of his steadiness and an engaging personality.
“We deal with all kinds of people down here, so we try to have someone with the personality to deal with all kinds of individuals someone with a personal touch and not a heavy-handed approach,” Spiller said. “And Brent was really good at that. He was a patrol officer, a great officer.”
Thompson came to Dallas after law enforcement and security stints in Corsicana and overseas. He served on active duty in the Marine Corps from 1991 to 1994, according to military records. He worked for six or seven years as an officer in Corsicana schools, keeping hundreds of schoolchildren safe, said Randy Ratliff, chief of police for Corsicana ISD.
He also was a contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he worked on security teams around Baghdad and elsewhere, according to his LinkedIn account. In Afghanistan, he worked in the dangerous Helmand and Kandahar Provinces.
Patrick Zamarripa, 32, Dallas Police Department
Patrick Zamarripa dreamed of becoming a police officer as a young boy, aunt Lanette Martinez said. She described him a good kid who played baseball and served as an altar boy at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Fort Worth.
Zamarripa worked in the Navy for eight years and served several tours in Iraq, his family said. The officer was also active in the Navy Reserve, Martinez said.
“He wanted to serve God,” Martinez said, “and he wanted to serve his country.”
On July 4, Zamarripa wrote on Twitter: “Happy birthday to the greatest country on the face of this planet. My beloved America!”
“He was proud to serve,” Rogers said. “He was proud to be one of the good guys.”
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