Mourners Gather At Funerals For 3 Slain Dallas Police Officers

Jul 13, 2016
Originally published on July 13, 2016 6:23 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In Dallas, funerals for the fallen police officers began today, victims of the ambush in that city last Thursday evening. The first funeral was for Brent Thompson. He was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. Law enforcement officers from around Texas and the country came to pay their respects. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has this report.

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WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The Potter's House Church where services were held for 43-year-old Officer Brent Thompson holds more than 17,000 worshippers, and the sanctuary was filled with thousands of police officers in their dress blues.

Before becoming an officer, Thompson was a U.S. Marine who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His pastor, Rick Lamb, described him as a man who instinctively liked and was liked by nearly all who met him.

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RICK LAMB: He really liked the average Iraqi people - not the ones that cause all the trouble, the insurgents, you understand, but the average people. He even likened them to Texans. As a matter of fact, Brent respected and loved all people regardless of what color they were, where they came from. He loved people.

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UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Amazing grace...

GOODWYN: Two weeks before his death, Thompson married a fellow police officer. In a display of courage and composure, his bride, Emily, stepped to the lectern to mourn her fallen husband.

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EMILY THOMPSON: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 was one of the happiest days of my life. I married the most amazing, caring, loving, selfless man I've ever known. Brent showed me that even though I would doubt myself from time to time, I'm strong and can do anything. Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 8:58 p.m., that was all ripped from me in an act of senseless violence.

GOODWYN: Brent Thompson raised six children married to his first wife, Sondra, for 24 years. Here's his daughter Sandy.

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SANDY THOMPSON: One thing I would always say to my dad when he walked out the door was, goodbye, Daddy; I love you; be safe. And tonight we say our final goodbye, Daddy. We love you. Be safe.

GOODWYN: Brent Thompson's partner on the force, Joe Kyser, agonizes that he was not with Thompson that night. It was special duty accompanying a protest march through downtown, and Kyser wasn't working it.

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JOE KYSER: I look forward to the day when I see Brent again. God will be in heaven giving out assignments. God will look right at me and Brent. He will smile because the team will be back once again. I will hear him say, Kyser, Thompson - two-man team. Keep the streets of Heaven safe.

GOODWYN: Brent Alan Thompson will be buried on his family's farm in East Texas. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.