FORT WORTH (CBS11) – An emotional rosary service for fallen Dallas Police officer Patrick Zamarripa ended with an emotional tribute and a surprise promotion on Friday night in Fort Worth.READ MORE: Nonprofit To Offer Texas Offensive Linemen $50,000 Annually
A crowd of nearly 1,000 people packed inside the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. The group prayed and reflected on the life of a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice during an ambush attack in Downtown Dallas.
“He was funny, he was friendly, he would have been your friend. He would have made friends with anyone in here,” said Ofc. Arturo Martinez, a friend and fellow Dallas officer.
Friday night gave family and friends an opportunity to reflect on Zamarripa before his funeral on Saturday.
“It’s very hard because I have sons his age,” said Francis Avilez, a close family friend.
Investigators said the 32-year-old father, husband and military veteran was shot and killed by ambush suspect Micah X. Johnson.
Zamarripa leaves behind a wife, two kids and his father and mother.
“We try not to break down in front of her, but it’s really hard because Patrick was wonderful,” said Maria Reyes, a close family friend.
Friends said Zamarripa was not only a good person but someone who lived to protect and serve his community.READ MORE: Texas Man Gene Garcia Solis Charged With Threatening To Kill Ex-Wife
“Patrick was both a sailor and a cop. He took that obligation twice. He kept that promise twice,” said Captain Mark Hofmann of the U.S. Navy.
In a total surprise to the crowd, Hofmann recognized Zamarripa’s service and sacrifice by promoting him to Petty Officer, 1st Class.
One by one, fellow officers and Chief David Brown said their goodbyes to their “brother in blue.”
“What I will say about this, about him and what I’ve learned from this is that don’t take time for granted,” said Martinez.
Zamarripa’s funeral is set for Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
He will later be buried at the Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery.MORE NEWS: 3 Charged In Deadly 5-Vehicle DWI Crash In Dallas
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