SAGINAW, Texas - A banner of Dallas police Officer Patrick Zamarripa proudly hangs outside the Saginaw home where the 32-year-old Navy veteran who served three tours in Iraq grew up.
Inside the house that is still owned by his father, the fireplace is covered with photographs honoring his memory.
“I have some pictures of him from first grade and I have some other pictures of him, he’s clowning around,” said Rick Zamarripa. “I have my moments. The first two months were very difficult, very difficult.”
Rick recalled sitting in his recliner and watching the news on July 7, 2016 when his life suddenly changed.
“Breaking news… a police officer was shot in Dallas and I said, ‘Oh no, that’s Patrick,’” he said.
Patrick was one of five Dallas officers killed by a sniper while working a protest in Downtown Dallas. His father rushed to Parkland Hospital in hopes his son somehow survived. A fellow officer delivered the devastating news.
“I said, ‘How’s Patrick?’ And he didn’t say a word. His face turned beet red. That’s all he had to say. I knew and that was it, you know,” Rick said.
In the wake of his death, Patrick’s dad has become a stronger advocate for law enforcement. He’s currently working with the city to get a 12-foot memorial statue installed downtown.
“It’s of a police officer coming home to his family. It’s going to be for the five officers. I think it should be in that area somewhere instead of across town. Just like the JFK memorial, everybody comes around and has a sense of what happened there,” he said.
Patrick leaves behind a 3-year-old daughter named Lycoln. Rick said she looks just like her daddy.
“Every time she goes past the American flag she knows that’s daddy, it stands for daddy,” he said.
And as difficult as it is to relive the day he lost his son, Rick said it’s important to talk about him so people never forget Officer Patrick Zamarripa.
“And now he’s everybody’s hero. He’s not my hero anymore. I have to share him. He’s everyone’s hero,” his father said.