Who Is Patrick Zamarripa? The Iraq Veteran And Father Was One Of The Officers Killed In Dallas
One of the police officers shot and killed by what police believe was a rogue sniper during an anti-police brutality protest in Dallas on Thursday had already survived three tours of Iraq prior to joining the police force. Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa had recently begun working as a bike police officer when he was killed Thursday night, according to his father, Rick Zamarripa. Patrick was just 32 years old.
Patrick Zamarripa enlisted in the Navy right after high school, his father told the Washington Post. After serving in Iraq, his father said Zamarripa was looking forward to serving people on U.S. soil. He joined the Dallas Police Department about five years ago. "He comes to the United States to protect people here,” Rick Zamarripa told the Washington Post. “And they take his life.”
The three-time Iraq war veteran was a father to a 2-year-old daughter, CBS News reports. His daughter and his long-time partner, Kristy Villasenor, were reportedly at a baseball game when the shooting broke out in downtown Dallas Thursday evening.
"He'll never get to see her graduate. Get married, have kids, become a granddaddy," Rick Zamarripa told CBS News in an interview. "Hopefully, God willing, he'll give me the strength to live to be able to see that one for him."
Zamarripa was recently given the bike patrol assignment, a task his family says he enjoyed. Working as a bike officer meant he was able to engage with Dallas residents, including Texas Rangers prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Friday, Gallo shared a picture taken with Zamarripa and Mazara on Instagram. In the photo caption, Gallo wrote that he and Mazara met Zamarripa a couple months ago in downtown Dallas while he was on patrol; Zamarripa asked the two baseball players for a photo.
"I'll never forget how kind and down to earth he was," Gallo wrote. "He was an avid Rangers fan. But more importantly a great person, and family man."
Dallas police officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith and Michael Krol were also among the victims of Thursday's shooting, which is the worst mass shooting of U.S. police officers. Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson was also killed. At least 10 police officers were injured in the ambush.
Police have identified the leading suspect in the shooting as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, who was an Afghanistan veteran, CNN reported. Johnson was killed during a shoot-out with police; investigators believe he worked alone.