Joey Gallo posts emotional tribute to officer slain in Dallas shooting

Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo joined the chorus of Texas athletes expressing their support and despair over Thursday night's tragic mass-shooting in downtown Dallas.

Gallo's message hit on a more visceral levels than most, however, as he happened to know officer Patrick Zamarripa -- one of five officers slain in the extended crossfire between authorities and the shooter at a Black Lives Matter protest in the downtown area.

A 32-year-old veteran of the U.S. military with three tours in Iraq under his belt, Zamarripa approached Gallo and teammate Nomar Mazara for a picture earlier this year, according to Gallo.

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In his post, Gallo mentions being struck at a "true hero" like Zamarripa had wanted to meet them, and that they'd shared a 15-minute conversation on sports. Gallo describes Zamarripa as a diehard Rangers fan, and asked followers to keep Zamarripa's family in their prayers.

A couple months ago @nomazara26 and I were walking down the street in downtown Dallas. When an officer stopped us, Mazara and I immediately became nervous, "I know who you guys are" he said. "Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara, can I get a picture with you guys please?" It was definitely a first for me and Nomar to have an officer, a true hero, want to meet us. His name is Patrick Zamarripa, one of the officers killed in last nights shootings in Dallas. I'll never forget how kind and down to Earth he was. We ended up having a 15 minute conversation about sports with him. He was an avid Rangers fan. But more importantly a great person, and family man. Please keep Patrick, and all the officers affected and their families in our prayers today. #prayfordallas

A photo posted by Joey Gallo (@joeygallo24) on

In a Washington Post piece published by John Woodrow Cox on Friday, Zamarripa's father, Rick, speaks about his son's lifelong mission to serve being cut short by Thursday night's violence.

"He comes to the United State to protect people here," Rick said. "And they take his life."

Dan is on Twitter. Be strong, Dallas.