Hours after President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke at a memorial service for the five Dallas cops who were killed in the mass shooting on July 7, thousands of mourners gathered for individual funeral services on Wednesday, July 13.
Services were held for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer Brent Thompson and Dallas Police Department officers Michael Smith and Lorne Ahrens, who all lost their lives when a sniper opened fire during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest last week. The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, said he was “upset about the recent police shootings” of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and wanted to kill white people, especially white cops.
While three of the officers were honored today, the services for Michael Krol and Patrick Zamarripa will be held later this week.
Thousands crammed into The Potter’s House church in Dallas for Thompson’s service on Wednesday. His wife, Emily, a fellow DART officer he had married only two weeks before the attack, told the crowd that the shooter, Micah Johnson, was a coward. “You know your hate made us stronger,” she said, according to ABC News. Thompson, 43, is the first DART officer ever killed in the line of duty.
His six children from a previous marriage also took the podium to thank everyone for their support and to recall how hard their dad had worked to support them, often juggling two jobs. After the service, officers saluted as his casket was taken to a burial site in Coriscana, Texas.
A visitation was held for Smith, 55, at the Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch, Texas, on Tuesday.
“Black, white, Hispanic and Asian mourners lined up outside of the church in the pummeling summer sun, waiting patiently for a chance to have a quiet moment to pay their respect,” the New York Times reports. Dallas police chief David O. Brown attended and waited in line with the rest of the community.
Two members of the Dallas Police Honor Guard stood at each side of his coffin, and as fellow officers approached, they gave their late coworker a salute, according to the Times.
During his speech at the memorial on Tuesday, President Obama reminded Americans that Smith was the father of two girls and that he loved to play softball with them. “Today, his girls have lost their dad, for God has called Michael home,” POTUS said.
In addition to a private funeral on Wednesday, a public memorial is scheduled for Thursday at Watermark Church in Dallas.
A funeral service for Ahrens, 48, was held on Wednesday at the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. He was a father of two and husband to a fellow Dallas Police Department detective. Speakers reminded mourners of his work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and his time as a semipro football player before he moved to Texas, The Guardian reports.
After the ceremony, hundreds lined the road to watch as a procession traveled from Plano to Restland Funeral Home and Cemetery in Dallas, WFAA reports.
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