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Latino Police Officer, Navy Vet Patrick Zamarripa Killed in Dallas Ambush

Image: Patrick Zamarripa is pictured in this undated family handout photo

Patrick Zamarripa is pictured in this undated family handout photo. Zamarripa, an U.S. Navy veteran, is one of the officers killed in an attack in which five police officers were shot dead at a protest decrying police shootings of black men according to media reports and his friends on social media. Courtesty of Hector Zamarripa / Reuters

Patrick Zamarripa, one of the officers killed in the shootings of Dallas police officers Thursday night, served his country in Iraq and then served Dallas with the police department for six years.

Zamarripa spent eight years in active Naval duty, worked five years as a military reservist and served three tours in Iraq. The father with a 2-year-old daughter was an avid sports fan and known around the community.

Related: Dallas Police Ambush: These Are the Slain Officers

According to official records Zamarripa was Latino and the New York Daily News reported he was Mexican American. He would have turned 33 next moth, The Associated Press reported.

Ben Rogers, a radio host for 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, was close with Zamarripa and went to sporting events together. They would often talk about sports.

"This police officer — it doesn't get any better than this," Rogers said to NBC News. "He's just a guy who wants to serve and protect during the day, and watch a ballgame with his family at night."

Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback, expressed his grief on Twitter, saying his thoughts and prayers were with the fallen officers. One Twitter user took the chance to point out that Zamarripa and Romo had met before.

Others took to social media to share their support for his family

Zamarripa was awarded numerous medals and decorations for his work in the Navy. He received the Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, to name a few.

Zamarripa's father Rick Zamarripa told the Washington Post that his son had recently begun working in downtown Dallas as a bike officer.

"Patrick would bend over backward to help anybody. He'd give you his last dollar if he had it. He was always trying to help people, protect people," his father, Rick Zamarripa, told The Associated Press by phone Friday. "As tough as he was, he was patient, very giving.

Related: Dallas Suspect Was Upset About Recent Police Shootings

Rick Zamarripa had often texted his son to check on him and did the same when he saw news of the shootings downtown, according to reports. But unlike other times, Thursday night, Zamarripa did not respond to his father's text asking if he was okay.

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