One was a newlywed. Another had survived multiple tours in Iraq. Both were fathers.

The stories of the officers gunned down in a sniper attack in Dallas during a protest over recent police shootings of black men emerged Friday as their identities became known. Authorities say five officers were killed and at least seven others wounded in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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Brent Thompson, 43, had worked as an officer with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority for the last seven years. There he found love, marrying another transit officer within the last two weeks, according to DART Chief James Spiller.

"Brent was a great officer," Spiller told MSNBC early Friday. "He has served admirably during his time here at DART."

Thompson had six grown children from a previous marriage and had recently welcomed his third grandchild, according to Tara Thornton, a close friend of Thompson's 22-year-old daughter, Lizzie. Thornton said Thompson and his close-knit family would often get together and have classic rock singalongs, with Thornton and his son, Jake, playing guitar. He lived an hour's drive south of Dallas, in Corsicana.

"He was a brave man dedicated to his family," said Thornton. "He loved being a police officer. He instantly knew that's what he wanted to do. He knew he wanted to save lives and protect people. He had a passion for it."

On Thursday, he became the first DART officer killed in the line of duty since the agency's police force was founded in 1989, according to spokesman Morgan Lyons.

Before joining the DART force, Thompson worked from 2004 to 2008 for DynCorp International, a private military contractor. According to Thompson's LinkedIn page, he worked as an international police liaison officer, helping teach and mentor Iraqi police. Thompson's last position was as the company's chief of operations for southern Iraq, where he helped train teams covering Baghdad to the southern border with Kuwait. He also worked in northern Iraq and in Afghanistan, where he was a team leader and lead mentor to a southern provincial police chief.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our alumni," said Mary Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Virginia-based DynCorp. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this most difficult time."

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Patrick Zamarripa had an urge to serve — first in the Navy, where his family said he did three tours in Iraq, then back home in Texas as a Dallas police 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."

Zamarripa, who would have turned 33 next month, was married with a toddler and school-age stepchild. He joined the Navy shortly after high school in Fort Worth, serving eight years on active duty and then in the reserves, according to the Navy. The Navy doesn't release deployment details, but a Dallas Morning News reporter encountered Zamarripa in 2004 as he helped guard one of the offshore oil platforms that help fuel Iraq's post-war economic rebuilding.

"We're protecting the backbone of Iraq," Zamarripa, a petty officer who also used the first name Patricio, told the newspaper. "A terrorist attack here would send the country down the drain."

After doing security work in the Navy, a police career seemed a natural fit once he returned to Texas in 2009. Zamarripa joined the Dallas force about five years ago and recently was assigned to downtown bicycle patrols, his father said.

Zamarripa realized policing was a dangerous job. His father recently put him in touch with an in-law who works elsewhere in government, hoping his son might leave the force.

"'No, I want to stay here,'" he said, according to his father. "'I like the action.'"

Rick Zamarripa knew his son was assigned to patrol Thursday's demonstrations, so when he saw news of the shooting on TV, he texted his son to make sure he was all right. The father did that whenever he heard officers were in danger. Typically, his son would text back quickly to say he was fine and would call back later.

This time, no reply came.

"He went over there (to Iraq) and didn't get hurt at all, and he comes back to the states and gets killed," his father said.

Zamarripa is survived by his wife, Kristy Villasenor, whom he'd known since high school; their 2-year-old daughter, Lyncoln, and a 10-year-old stepson.