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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – People from all over North Texas have been coming to a growing memorial at the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters after Thursday night’s ambush in downtown. A total of 12 police officers were shot, along with two civilians, and five families are grieving for men whom they will never see again.

What started as a peaceful protest against officer-involved shootings around the nation ended in gunfire, as a sniper started to attack police officers “ambush-style,” according to Chief David Brown with the Dallas Police Department. It was the deadliest day for law enforcement officers since 9/11.

 The shots would ultimately take the life of Patrick Zamarripa. “My son paid the ultimate price to take care of people,” said the slain officer’s father, Rick Zamarripa. The promising 32-year-old officer — a father himself — grew up in Fort Worth. He was a Navy veteran who survived three tours during the Iraq War, only to be gunned down in the city that he loved to serve.

Michael Krol was a Michigan native living out his dream job in Dallas. The 40-year-old officer had been with the Dallas Police Department for eight years. He had also worked as a security guard and a corrections officer. “He wanted to make everything better,” said Jim Ehlke, the officer’s uncle. “He wanted to make things right. He was really committed.”

Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens served with the Dallas Police Department for 14 years. Loved ones said that he had a crooked smile and a wicked sense of humor. He was married to a fellow police officer and leaves behind two children.

Michael Smith was also the father of two kids, a 9-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl. The 55-year-old police officer died doing what he loved. He was a former Army ranger, and had been married for 17 years.

There was also one DART Police Department officer killed during the ambush. Brent Thompson became the first DART officer to ever die in the line of duty. The 43-year-old officer had just gotten married two weeks ago to a fellow transit officer. “Great police officer, servant to the people of Dallas,” stated Chief J.D. Spiller. “Great family man, and we are deeply saddened by his loss.”

The deaths of these five victims have left a giant hole in the hearts of their families, and many others across the nation. Police officers have been standing at the Dallas memorial in shifts, wanting to meet the citizens whom they serve and let them know that they are there… for everyone.