Who Was Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens? The Dallas Police Shooting Victim Was Beloved
On Thursday night, the Dallas Police Department was the target of one of the single deadliest attacks on American police officers ever. Five officers were killed by ambush sniper fire, abruptly interrupting what had by all accounts been a peaceful and friendly protest, and sending the scene into chaos. At first, not all of the officer's identities had been made public, but now the world knows their names: Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Michael J. Smith, and Lorne Ahrens. And if you're wondering who Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens was, here is what has been reported so far.
As Steve Hendrix detailed for the Washington Post, the 48-year-old was a resident of Burleson, Texas, a city about 46 miles southwest of Dallas, and he was a powerful man, a former semi-pro football player who weighed in at about 300 pounds. He served in the Dallas Police Department for 14 years, and had previously been a police officer in California, where he was born and raised. According to Tristan Hallman of The Dallas Morning News, Ahrens was a rather well-known figure within the department, and he was remembered fondly by his one of his fellow officers, who characterized him as "a big teddy bear." Here's what Ahrens looked like.
Ahrens was shot on Thursday night and rushed to the hospital for medical care, where he ultimately died. He reportedly survived one surgery, but died when subsequent complications demanded further surgery. He is survived by his wife, Katrina Ahrens, their 8-year-old son, and their 10-year old daughter.
Ahrens' father-in-law also told the Washington Post that his daughter Katrina was fine with her husband's line of work, dangers and all, because she was a police officer herself. On Friday, as The New York Times detailed, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings commented on the danger that members of the DPD face in their day-to-day lives:
To say that our police officers put their lives on the line every day is no hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a reality.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Ahrens was the 25th police officer to be shot and killed in the United States in 2016 so far. Last year, 42 officers died from gunfire. While that might seem like a high number, it's actually very low in relative terms ― 2015 was one of the safest years for police in recent history.