The Slatest

The Dallas Victims: Details About How One Officer’s Family Found Out Are Devastating

Brent Thompson, of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, one of five officers killed in a shooting incident in Dallas, is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on Friday.

Via LinkedIn/Handout via Reuters

A portrait is starting to emerge of the victims in Thursday’s attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven officers and two civilians wounded.

Brent Thompson, 43

The first victim was identified as Brent Thompson, a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. He had married a fellow officer in the past two weeks, according to James Spiller, police chief of DART. He had also worked in Afghanistan and Iraq training police forces.

His Facebook profile cover photo is an image of five officers standing in front of a shield with the words “All men are created equal and then a few become brothers.” It also shows a photo of him with a boy named Mason who he calls his grandson.

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According to his LinkedIn profile, Thompson worked for three years as an instructor at the Navarro Police Academy and five years as an international police liaison officer at DynCorp International. While training police forces in Afghanistan, he was quoted in a 2006 New York Times article describing the difficulties inherent in such work. “Mr. Thompson, who trained the police in Iraq for DynCorp, said the Afghan police were more poorly equipped than their Iraqi counterparts. In one recent Afghan class, he said, 40 police officers shared 15 rifles,” the Times reported at the time.

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On multiple occasions he posted support for the “Police Lives Matter” meme, including one post criticizing Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Al Sharpton: “Although our President, Attorney General, and the great Rev. Al Sharpton don’t agree. (But all of the above would call us in an emergency) Law Enforcement Officers lives count too.”

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He also posted about human trafficking, calling it “[o]ne of the worst crimes worldwide.”

“Brent was a great officer,” Spiller said on Friday morning. “We’re making sure his family is taken care of.”

Patrick Zamarripa, 32

The father of Iraq war veteran and Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa has identified his son as a victim in Thursday’s attack. Rick Zamarripa told the Washington Post that Patrick was among those killed.

The Post story has a heart-rending account of how Zamarripa’s father and longtime partner learned both that he had been shot, and it is worth reading in its entirety. When he heard about the shooting, Zamarripa’s father texted his son “Hey Patrick. Are you okay?” Normally he would get a response when he asked that question, but this time none came.

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Zamarripa’s longtime partner, Kristy Villasenor, was at a Texas Rangers game with their 2-year-old daughter Lyncoln. She posted a photo of the pair wearing matching Rangers Converse shoes and tagged Zamarripa in it. “Glad Pat is there and not in Dallas right now,” a friend wrote in the comments. “He’s not here,” she responded. “I just tagged him so he’ll get the pic.” Soon after that she was summoned to the hospital.

Rick was the first family member to arrive, and he asked an officer, “How’s Patrick?” “He wouldn’t tell me,” Rick said. “He had that look on his face. I knew.”

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Zamarripa served three tours of duty in Iraq, the Post reported. Zamarripa’s Twitter account features posts about the Rangers, tributes to fallen officers and soldiers, and photos of his daughter with the words “Daddy’s got you” and my “new reason” for life.

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Michael Krol, 40

A third victim has been identified as Michigan native Michael Krol. Fox’s Detroit affiliate reported that he worked as a Wayne County sheriff’s deputy in that county jail system from 2003 to 2007 and moved to Dallas to join the Dallas Police Department in 2007.

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“He was a big guy and had a big heart, and he was a really caring person and wanted to help people,” Krol’s brother-in-law, Brian Schoenbaechler, told the Washington Post. “It doesn’t seem real. His mom’s had a difficult time.”

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More from the Post:

Krol always wanted to be a cop. It was just a question of how he was going do it and where. After high school—where he excelled at basketball and towered well over 6 feet—he took a job as a security guard at a Michigan hospital. There, Schoenbaechler said, his brother-in-law’s two passions—caring for and protecting others—coalesced.

His brother-in-law remembered the way Krol tended to one sick older patient.

“I don’t remember who it was,” Schoenbaechler said, “but he stayed with that person and provided them with care and helped them to use the bathroom and stuff that most guys wouldn’t do. And I was just like, ‘Wow, that’s powerful that he can help others in that way.’”

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Lorne Ahrens

The Dallas Morning News identified another of the victims as husband and father of two, Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens.

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The Post reported that Ahrens was a 6-foot-5, 300-pound former semi-pro football player.

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“He was a big ol’ boy,” Ahrens’ father-in-law, Charlie Buckingham, told the Post. “Big as he is, just walking down the street he cut a real figure. I’m sure it helped him in his work.”

Buckingham’s wife, Katrina, is a Dallas police detective who had gone to bed early to wake up for a 3 a.m. shift and was sleeping when news of the attack broke. Ahrens made it to the hospital after the attack but died after coming out of surgery.

Ahrens was a 14-year veteran of the department, the Post reported. He grew up in Los Angeles and played his semi-professional football in California. He is survived by his wife, his 10-year-old daughter, and 8-year-old son.

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Michael Smith, 55

The Dallas Morning News and ABC’s Dallas affiliate WFAA identified Michael J. Smith as another victim.

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WFAA reported that he was a father of two young girls, served as an Army Ranger, and attended the Lamar Institute of Technology.

He had recently spoken about retirement, but his brother-in-law said he decided to stay on the force because he was more concerned about his fellow officers.

Injured victims

Three of the injured officers were identified by DART spokesman Morgan Lyons as Omar Cannon, 44; Misty McBride, 32; and Jesus Retana, 39. All were expected to recover.

One of the injured civilians was identified by news outlets as 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor. She was reportedly there to attend the peaceful street protest against police violence with four sons and was shielding her 15-year-old son when she was shot in the calf.

This post is being updated as additional information becomes available.

See more of Slate’s coverage of the Dallas shooting.

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