Public invited to Wednesday events marking fifth anniversary of July 7 Downtown Dallas ambush

Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the July 7 ambush on Dallas police. 

Families of the fallen officers hope the public continues to remember the sacrifice that law enforcement officers make when they make the pledge to protect and serve. 

As tensions have continued to intensify between the public and police in the five years since her son's death, Valerie Zamarripa wants people to remember the sacrifice officers make to keep people safe. 

"Those were the last words I heard my son tell me. ‘I love you, mom.’ I love you too, mijo,’" she recalled.

Valerie had no way to know that conversation with her son, Patrick Zamarripa, would be her last. 

Hours later, a lone gunman opened fire on police officers who were working to protect protestors downtown. Four Dallas police officers and a DART officer were killed. 

Zamarripa never had the opportunity to say goodbye. 

"I wanted to hold my baby. They wouldn't let me," said Rick Zamarripa, Patrick’s father. "That is when the nightmare began." 

Rick says it was Patrick’s boyhood dream to become a police officer after meeting his neighbor. He went on to serve three tours of duty in Iraq before coming home and joining DPD. His most proud moment was becoming a father. 

"He was so happy when his daughter was born," Rick said.

Lyncoln was two at the time.  Now at 7 years old, her grandparents hope to teach her as much as they can about her father. 

The father of officer Loren Ahrens is also hoping to teach his grandchildren about their father. 

"His nickname was Meat. Over 6’4". 300 pounds," said his father, William Ahrens. "Whenever they needed someone to penetrate a house, they would say to call Meat and he would take down the door.

Families of the officers hope this July 7 the public will remember the vast majority of police officers are willing to lay down their lives for another. 

"We don't always need medical help or police help. But when we need it, we need it," William said. "I hope the public appreciates that." 

"We are made by the same creator," Rick said.

The public is invited to two events honoring the five officers killed on July 7.

The first is at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday and will begin at Griffin Street and Young Street with a march to the Dallas memorial site at Akard and Young Street. 

The second event is also Akard and Young Street at 6:30 pm. At 7:07 p.m. there will be a release of 77 blue balloons followed by a candlelight vigil.