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Remembering The Fallen: Patrick Zamarripa Was A Peacemaker From The Start

One of the five police officers killed in the July 7 downtown Dallas shooting was laid to rest at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on Saturday. As part of KERA’s series, “Remembering the Fallen,” we look at the life of 32-year-old Dallas Officer Patricio "Patrick" Zamarripa.

As a young boy, Patrick Zamarripa knew what he wanted to be. He had a neighbor named Mike, who lived down the street. Mike was a police officer.

“He was, ‘Wow,’ just always admired Mike,” said Zamarripa’s aunt, Lanette Martinez. “So he always told his mom, ‘I’m going to be a police officer. I’m going to be a police officer.’ ”

Martinez says being a peacemaker was in Zamarripa’s blood. After his parents divorced, Martinez says her nephew took on a family leadership role.

So it was no surprise when he joined the United States Navy after high school. Zamarripa became a Dallas police officer in 2010 after serving three tours of duty in Iraq.


“He was real serious and so my dad actually would call him Tom Landry and one time when he was on a band trip, he met Tom Landry at the airport and got to sit next to Tom Landry on the plane," Martinez said. “So that was one of the highlights of his life.”

Landry was just one of several celebrities Zamarripa would meet. He worked off duty at the Candleroom Nightclub in Dallas. And as the Dallas Observer reported, that’s where he met actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and several Texas Rangers baseball players.

One of those players, Joey Gallo, posted a photo on Instagram of him and fellow player Nomar Mazara with Zamarripa.

Gallo wrote: “I’ll never forget how kind and down to earth he was."

Martinez recalled her nephew’s passion for baseball.

“I’m sure that Patrick went to about 200 games and always made sure that he was at Opening Day,” she said.

It seems everyone knew he was quite the fan. Former president George W. Bush even got a reaction out of the audience at last week’s memorial service for the five officers killed.

“Patrick Zamarripa – U.S. Navy Reserve Combat Veteran. Proud father. And loyal Texas Rangers Fan,” Bush said.

People laughed and then clapped.

Credit Stella M. Chávez / KERA News
Thousands of police officers from around the country attended the funeral of Dallas officer Patrick Zamarripa.

On Saturday, mourners packed the 5,000-seat Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in Fort Worth for Zamarripa’s Catholic funeral mass. Officers traveled across the country from places like California, Chicago and New York to be there.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who spoke at the service, compared Zamarripa’s sacrifice to the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Brown said Jesus was teaching his followers about leadership and that serving others is personal.

“And what’s more personal than being willing to give your life in your service?” he asked. “That’s the example here that the ultimate sacrifice of giving your life is our calling to serve others in a personal way...”

Zamarripa leaves behind his partner and fiancée Kristy, their daughter and a stepson.

His aunt Lanette Martinez said she last spoke to Zamarippa two weeks ago.

The last thing she remembered him saying: “Patrick always told us, ‘Bye, see you later. We love you.’ ”

That’s just how he was raised, she said, to remember that family is all they have.

Credit Stella M. Chávez / KERA News
Many people lined up along Interstate 30 and on overpasses on Saturday to see the funeral procession for Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa.

Credit Ron T. Ennis / Special to the Star-Telegram
Special to the Star-Telegram
A horse-drawn carriage arrives at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery carrying the casket of Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa.

You can see more photos of the funeral from the Star-Telegram here.

And you can also see a slideshow on The Dallas Morning News website.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.