News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Remembering The Fallen: DART's Brent Thompson Lived Life At Full Throttle

BJ Austin
KERA News Special Contributor
Officers escort Brent Thompson's casket into The Potter's House.

This is a week of grieving in Dallas as memorial services and funerals are held for the five officers gunned down in last week's police ambush. Brent Thompson, 43, was the first DART police officer to die in the line of duty.

His memorial service was Wednesday at The Potter’s House in Dallas.

Brent Thompson ran at life full throttle.

That’s what his mama told Corsicana pastor Rick Lamb, who related the conversation to hundreds at Thompson’s memorial service.

“If something was gonna happen, if somebody was going to skin their knee or fall off something, it was always Brent,” Lamb said.

Brent was the middle child of the three Thompson boys, well known in their hometown of Corsicana. Older brother Lowell is now the District Attorney for Navarro County.  Darrell is a high school coach.

After a stint in junior college, Brent joined the Marines, did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, then came home to become a Corsicana police officer and worked in the schools.  Terry Seth, CEO of the Corsicana YMCA, says he made a difference in a lot of young lives.

“He cared about kids and I think he wanted to help kids that are in trouble basically get back,” Seth said. “He was proactive, always caring about the kids, what’s best for the kids.”

And he had six kids of his own from a 24-year marriage to Sondra -- four girls and two boys. 

Father Ed Monk, priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Corsicana, says he and Thompson spent a lot of time doing dad-duty as their kids went through school together. 

“Always kind, always had a smile,” Monk said. “When he worked for the school district, he always had a hug for each of the kids he came in contact with. He just clearly loved his job and loved people.”

Thompson joined DART in 2009, and quickly made a reputation for himself among colleagues.

“Brent was a notorious jokester and if he knew your weakness he was sure to exploit it and go out of his way doing so,” said Thompson’s DART police partner, Officer Joseph Kyser.

Kyser told the crowd at the memorial service that one lieutenant confided that he didn’t really like to be touched. 

“So every time Brent saw this lieutenant he’d go out of his way to either rub the lieutenant lightly on the back or reach up and tickle his elbow,” Kyser said.

And he did it with an impish smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Kent Rogers, a Corsicana doctor, has known the Thompson family, parents Sam and Paulette and the three boys for decades. He calls them all fearless – never backing away from a challenge, whatever that may be.  He says Brent certainly proved that.

“He actually did the unthinkable which is to hear the commotion and run right at it and go investigate and try to protect,” Rogers said.

Two weeks before he was killed, Thompson married again: his bride, a fellow DART officer, Emily.

“I married the most amazing, caring, loving, selfless man I’ve ever known,” she said. “Brent was a fighter, warrior, hero and quite the scrapper.”

At Potter’s House, Emily Thompson told the sea of blue filling the church she will put on her uniform and badge and return to serve and protect.  Brent would want that, she said.