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Dallas vigil draws more than 1,000 as Obama prepares to visit

By Allen Cone
1/5
Dallas vigil draws more than 1,000 as Obama prepares to visit
Families of the five slain Dallas police officers hold candles during a candle light vigil outside City Hall in Dallas, Texas on Monday. A crowd of more than 1,000 people united in grief to honor the victims of last week's downtown ambush that killed five police officers during a demonstration. Photo by Chris McGathey/UPI | License Photo

DALLAS, July 12 (UPI) -- More than 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil Monday night in front of Dallas City Hall to honor the victims of last week's downtown ambush of police officers.

The vigil came one day before President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at a private interfaith ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the 2,000-seat Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The memorial also will include former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush, Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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Obama will also meet privately with the families of the fallen police officers and those injured Thursday night.

Families and colleagues of the five officers who died attended the vigil Monday night.

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"We are Dallas strong," Chaplain Sean Pease said at the end of the service. "Go in peace."

Dallas police Chief David Brown, Dallas Area Rapid Transit police Chief J.D. Spiller and Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston spoke.

Pinkston asked officers to stand in the memory of the fallen heroes as he read each name.

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Brown quoted the opening sequence of The Adventures of Superman series.

"Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look, it's a train, it's a plane," Brown said. "No. It's Patricio Zamarripa. Look, it's Brent Thompson. Look, it's Michael Krol. Look, it's Lorne Ahrens. Look, it's Michael Smith. God speed, God bless you, God bless the Dallas Police Department."

Spiller said, "If someone thought that what they did was going to tear up Dallas and the state of Texas, they were wrong. What it did, what it did was galvanized us."

Dallas police Officer Josh Rodriguez spoke about his partner, Zamarripa.

The day of the the shooting, Rodriguez said a homeless man came up to Zamarripa and complained he had a bag of chips stolen. Zamarripa and another officer bought him some food.

"He felt as long as he was close to Patrick no one would harm him again," he said. "That ... demonstrates who he was, giving, selfless and compassionate. He saw no color. ... He wanted to be a hero to everyone and help them in any way they could. He is exactly that, he is a hero."

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