Dallas police quietly gathered in front of their headquarters Friday morning to remember the officers who died in an ambush two years ago.
Songs and prayers from four different faiths opened the observance. Along with citizens and officials, police remembered Dallas officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Patricio Zamarripa, Michael Smith and DART Officer Brent Thompson, who died on July 7, 2016.
They were ambushed downtown following a peaceful rally. Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall mentioned those killed that night and added Rogelio Santander, who died in a shooting during a confrontation with a shoplifter at a Home Depot store in April.
“We assemble here today as a celebration of life,” Hall said. “These officers left a legacy and we need to honor that legacy by remembering them and remembering the families — honoring you — each and every day.”
Hall called that July night two years ago among the deadliest in U.S. police history.
“It was also the department’s and this community’s finest hour,” she said.
We can’t thank the leaders of the city of Dallas and the State of Texas enough for your love and support in being here with DPD today! pic.twitter.com/sRPZyFSqkQ
— U. RENEÉ HALL (@ChiefHallDPD) July 6, 2018
State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said actions of the Dallas Police Department that night have helped redefine the city’s national image.
“We’ve seen individuals coming together supporting law enforcement,” he said. “We have a chief of police that cares about making certain her troops understand and appreciate their response for the community and what the behavior and expectations are of police officers and citizens.”
At the end of the morning service, family members and Dallas police officers released to the skies white balloons that symbolically represented slain officers.
The balloons read: “You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”
A monument in memory of the officers lost July 7 is scheduled to go up soon near the entrance to the Dallas police headquarters.
A fallen officers memorial will be held at Dallas City Hall Plaza at 9 a.m. Saturday. There will be a color guard presentation, followed by a 35-mile memorial motorcycle ride.