Patrick Zamarripa's father was watching television Thursday night at his home 40 miles west of Dallas when news flashed that a barrage of shots were fired in the city during a peaceful protest.
Rick Zamarripa knew his son, a 32-year-old Dallas cop, recently commenced working as a bike officer downtown.
Patrick may have enjoyed his work, but it was a worry for Rick who would often send texts to his son asking if he was okay.
“Yes, dad. I’ll call you back" was Patrick's typical, speedy return text, the Washington Post reported.
But there was no reply this time.
“I didn’t hear nothing,” his dad told the Post.
So Rick Zamarripa got in touch with his son's wife, Kristy Villasenor. At first she didn't know anything, either — but was soon told to get to Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Rick took off right away and was the first family member to arrive, the Post said.
He asked an officer, “How’s Patrick?” but received no answer, the paper said. “He had that look on his face. I knew.”
Patrick's stepmother also texted him after hearing news about police officers shot in downtown Dallas. And seconds later she also was summoned to Parkland — and given the worst news: "I was told he passed away at 9:17. So he would have never saw my text," a tearful Maria Zamarripa told the New York Daily News. "We were always worried about something happening to him."
But far more worrisome were Patrick's three tours of Iraq, a fact not lost on his father.
“He comes to the United States to protect people here,” Rick told the Post. “And they take his life.”
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Patrick Zamarripa’s entire adult life had been devoted to service. He entered the Navy soon after high school, his father said, and saw combat while working for the military police in Iraq. When he got out about five years ago, he joined the Dallas Police Department.
He just liked to help people, his father said.
A friend, Rick said, had recently asked Zamarripa if he was interested in a job with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He declined.
“No, I want to stay,” Patrick replied, the paper said. “I love doing this.”
Indeed his Twitter bio reads: "Addicted to the thrill of this job. I own the night. I love my Country, Texas, Family, God, Friends, and Sports! Don't Tread on Me! 'Merica"
But he loved his 2-year-old daughter Lyncoln most of all.
When she was born 12 days shy of Christmas in 2013, he naturally tweeted photos of his little girl — and added a moving caption to one: “Daddy’s got you Lyncoln.”
As Patrick's grieving family gathered Thursday night, Rick Zamarripa told the Post they were briefly allowed to see Patrick's face through a glass window.
At that moment, Rick added to the paper, little Lyncoln cried out for Patrick: “Da da. Da da."