Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa’s shooting death last July during a peaceful march prompted the Paschal High School community to respond with kindness for one of their own.
Zamarripa, 32, was on bike patrol July 7 when he and four other officers were ambushed in a sniper attack by Micah Xavier Johnson at the end of a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas.
On Wednesday, the Paschal High School Alumni Association awarded 12 $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors during a ceremony in Zamarripa’s honor.
“People started saying they wanted to do something to commemorate his sacrifice or give something in his honor,” said Michael Peck, president of the Paschal High School Alumni Association. He called the efforts to honor Zamarripa, a Fort Worth native, “amazing.”
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The ceremony was held in the cafeteria of the school’s new wing. Hanging near the podium was a banner with Zamarripa’s portrait on it that Zamarripa’s father presented to the school. Fort Worth police officers and ROTC students opened the ceremony amid bagpipe music, with Zamarripa’s family, including his parents, in attendance.
Kristy Zamarripa said her husband was the type of person who gave back to the community and persevered in the face of challenges.
Enrique Zamarripa called the scholarships “a great honor for my son.”
The scholarships symbolize Patrick Zamarripa’s love of education, Enrique Zamarripa said, adding that he often told his son: “Study real hard and you will get where you want to get.”
Principal Terri Mossige urged the scholarship recipients to “pay forward” the gift.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald told the Zamarripa family that they have the support of the Fort Worth Police Department.
“He is part of our family,” Fitzgerald said. “We will always be here for you.”
Evan Irvin, 18, received one of the scholarships and said he hopes to repay the community someday.
“I want to be as honorable as Patrick. Be selfless,” said Irvin, who plans to major in business at the University of North Texas.
Peck said the Paschal alumni organization started receiving unsolicited donations soon after Zamarripa’s death. When the gifts had become several thousand dollars, the group decided to start the scholarship program.
The scholarship recipients represent a wide range of students, including athletes, musicians and artists, who are attending a variety of different colleges. As part of the scholarship application, students were asked to describe how they planned to give back to their community.
Zamarripa, who was the second baseman for the Paschal baseball team and played trumpet in the school band, graduated in 2001.
He went on to serve three tours of duty in Iraq with the Navy. In 2010, he graduated from the police academy and joined the ranks of the Dallas Police Department.
He was the father of two children, one of whom attends Westcliff Elementary. His widow, Kristy, is also a Paschal alum.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.