NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
ALERT: KERA News 90.1 is performing essential tower maintenance which may disrupt our over-the-air signal between July 12-14. Click here for the KERA News stream, or listen on our app or smart speakers with no disruption. Thanks for your patience!

'The Pain Feels Like It Was Yesterday': Dallas Police Memorial Honors Fallen Officers

Ashley Landis
The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool
Dallas police officers salute as the body of Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa exits a funeral service on Saturday, July 16, 2016, at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center in Fort Worth.

Hundreds gathered downtown Wednesday for the annual Dallas Police Memorial to honor the city’s fallen officers. This year's ceremony paid special tribute to the five officers who were killed last summer by a lone gunman after a peaceful protest was wrapping up downtown.

Members of the Dallas police choir sang in front of the families, friends and police officers who gathered near City Hall to remember the officers who have died in the line of duty, including the four Dallas officers and the DART officer killed on July 7.

Interim Police Chief David Pughes had a message for those mourning the deaths of their loved ones.

“To the families, I know it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, but the pain, it’s real. And the pain feels like it was yesterday. We grieve with you, and we share your pain," Pughes said.  

The shootings last summer shook the city. It also affected officers like Sgt. Ivan Gunter, who's still in shock. He lost not only colleagues but also friends.  

“It’s always, always difficult going through something like this. It’s especially difficult because I was so close to some of the people there — all of us were. This was a loss not just for the police department but for the community at large," Gunter says. 

Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke at the ceremony. He said hearts overflow with grief over last summer’s deaths. He says it’s a time to support the police.

“Let us unite behind our men and women that serve us. Let us never forget those that paid the ultimate price," Rawlings said. 

After the speeches, the sounds of bagpipes filled downtown. There was a 21-gun salute and a police helicopter flew overhead. 

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado is an NPR Kroc Fellow. As part of her fellowship, she’s spending several months reporting at KERA.