More than anything, Dallas police Officer Patrick Zamarripa was a peacekeeper.
At home with family, while serving the Navy in Iraq and on the streets of Dallas, Zamarripa relished his role.
“Patrick’s family described him as vigilant, reliable and kind,” said Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson. “He was quite naturally a mediator and protector of his family. He played the role of peacekeeper in his family and wherever he was found.”
Olson presided over Zamarripa’s funeral mass Saturday morning at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, which was filled with family, friends and police officers from across Texas and the nation.
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Zamarripa died on the night of July 7, when he and other officers were “engaged in fostering peace,” Olson said, protecting the protesters at a Black Lives Matter march in downtown Dallas.
His was the final funeral among the four other slain officers: Sr. Crpl. Lorne, Ahrens, 48, Dallas police; Michael Krol, 40, Dallas police; Sgt. Michael Smith, 55, Dallas police; and Brent Thompson, 43, DART police.
“He understood being a police officer was not just a career, it was to answer a call from God to be a peacekeeper, for Patrick served joyfully,” Olson said.
For his work as a peace keeper, “we thank him,” Olson said. “And we thank God for Patrick’s life.”
Dallas police Chief David Brown talked about Zamarripa’s commitment to service, first in the Navy and later for the Dallas Police Department.
Brown talked of the importance of love while serving, saying, “if you can’t treat people right it doesn’t mean anything.”
Brown called the fallen officer “Patricio” and described his service as “personal.”
“What’s more personal that being willing to give your life in your service?” Brown asked. “That’s the example here.”
“We miss Patricio, we miss our four other fallen brothers, but this sacrifice is necessary.”
Brown said as police officers, “our service to our society is our sacrifice.”
“The question is to the community, what will your service be?” Brown asked. “Police officers have nothing else to give in their service but their lives. ... It’s why we call it the ultimate sacrifice. It is the highest example of our love for this country, for our cities, for our neighborhoods.”
“Patricio,” Brown said, “has made that clear, crystal clear.”
He ended by saying, “this family is hurting. they are grieving.
“This family needs to know that you support us and we support them,” Brown said. “God bless Patricio, Godspeed, and we'll see you again.”
Brown received a standing ovation for his comments.
‘A loyal Texas Ranger fan’
Zamarripa graduated from Fort Worth Paschal High School in 2001 where he played second base on the baseball team and played the trumpet in the band. Before Paschal he attended Rosemont Middle School, where then-band director Andrew Williams said Zamarripa made his mark.
“Back in the ’90s at Rosemont, it was kind of inner city — lots of gang activity, lots of problem kids,” Williams previously told the Star-Telegram. “He was always just like a bright light.”
A peacekeeper, as Olson said.
Hundreds of family members, friends, fellow officers and members of the Navy paid tribute to Zamarripa at the Greenwood Funeral Home in Fort Worth during the week-long public viewing and again at Friday’s rosary.
He was calm, contemplative and often private, preferring more to seek to help others than accept it. He had a sense of humor, he didn’t hold grudges and he so often realized the bigger picture of race, community and service.
After three tours in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Navy, which he joined after graduating from Paschal in 2001 and only months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he returned home to Fort Worth and answered his calling to law enforcement as a police officer. In 2010, he graduated from the police academy and joined the ranks of the Dallas Police Department.
He was a father and had a large extended family in Fort Worth. He was a a die-hard fan of the Texas Rangers, which was noted by George W. Bush at Tuesday’s memorial service in Dallas, who called Zamarripa “a loyal Texas Rangers fan.”
A miles-long procession along Interstate 20 took Zamarripa to Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, where he will be buried as a hero, a peacekeeper — as a police officer and Petty Officer 1st Class in the Navy, after receiving a posthumous promotion during Friday night’s rosary.
Jeff Caplan: 817-390-7005, @Jeff_Caplan