Funeral services are underway for the five officers killed in last week’s ambush shooting and will continue through Saturday.
People stood guard and waved American flags as Dallas police escorted their own Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens from a funeral home to Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano on Tuesday
Sergeant Ivan Gunter lost half his unit to death or injury in just seven minutes Thursday night.
"Everyone thinks because of his size and his burly nature. He used that all the time. The reality is that's just a small part of who he is,” Gunter said. “It's his heart, his integrity and his humor. Those are things you just can't do without.”
Senior Corporal Jaime Castro knew Ahrens when he had just joined the 30-80 unit, a drug enforcement squad assigned to one of the city's toughest neighborhoods.
"I'll never forget the day we first met Lorne,” said Castro. “The first thing I thought when I saw him was how the heck is this guy gonna get in and out of his squad car. He was huge.”
But Ahrens worked hard, did things the old school way and earned his position on the force and the respect of his fellow officers.
Castro recalled a night they worked together when Ahrens proved he'd be worthy of the 30-80s.
“I told him, ‘Don't you leave my side. No matter what happens, we don't separate,’” Castro said through tears. "Lorne then grabbed me by the shoulder and said, ‘Don't worry partner. I got your back. I'll take a bullet for you.’"
Ahrens' family kept the memorial private for friends, family and officers only. His funeral will also be held at the church on Wednesday and will be laid to rest at Restland Memorial Park's Garden of Honor in Dallas.
Family and friends gathered for Dallas Police Sgt. Michael Smith’s visitation Tuesday night at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch, where he and his family have been parishioners.
Just as the memorial service was wrapping up in downtown Dallas, Dallas Police officers on motorcycles and squad cars escorted Smith’s body to the church from a funeral home in Richardson.
Smith was an Army veteran who had been on the Dallas Police force 28 years. His wife, Heidi, teaches fourth grade at Mary Immaculate’s school. One of his daughters is going into fourth grade at the school and the other just graduated from eighth grade there.
After attending the memorial service downtown and meeting with the president, Smith's family arrived at Mary Immaculate with an even larger police escort. Family members had a private viewing before the public viewing at 6:30 p.m.
Senior Corporal Marcie St. John talked about how she met Smith when she was a rookie cop 23 years ago. They were partners on duty and great friends off.
“Funny story. I was actually the best man at his and Heidi's wedding,” she recalled. “It was pretty funny when Mike asked me to be the best man. I was like, ‘You're crazy.’”
“He was a worker. He wanted everything for those kids. He wanted them to have the best life possible,” said Rev. Michael Forge. “He took on every odd job any security job he could.”
Hundreds lined up to pay their respects, including Dallas Police Chief David Brown who paused to salute Sergeant Smith's flag-draped casket.
“He was a family man. He was a cop's cop. He was just a good all-around person,” said St. John. “What mattered most to him was taking care of other people. His whole life was about service.”
A private funeral mass will be at the church Wednesday at 10 a.m. It will be limited to family, close friends and officers who worked with Smith.
Smith had a second church family at Watermark Church in North Dallas, where he worked security. A public funeral service is planned there for noon on Thursday. Other officers from around the Dallas and around the country are expected there.
The visitation for DART officer Brent Thompson began at noon Tuesday at Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home in Corsicana and lasted until 9 p.m. Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning at the Potter’s House Church in West Oak Cliff.
The visitation for Dallas officer Michael Krol will be Thursday evening at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. His funeral will be Friday morning at the same church and will be buried in his home state of Michigan.
Dallas officer Patrick Zamarripa's visitation with a rosary will be Friday evening at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in Fort Worth. His funeral will be there Saturday morning and he will be buried Saturday afternoon at DFW National Cemetery in Dallas.