Brent Alan Thompson
of Navarro County, Texas


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Brent Alan Thompson
July 26, 1972 - July 7, 2016
 
Brent Alan Thompson of Corsicana passed away on Thursday, July 7, 2016 in the line of duty in Dallas.
Brent would have been 44 on July 26.

Brent worked as a Corsicana Police Officer before joining the Dallas Dart Police department as an officer. He also served in the Marines and worked in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

He was a loving father who loved his family and life. He also loved helping others.

He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, playing the guitar, and working as a police officer.

Brent is survived by his wife Emily; daughters Courtney and Katie; son Jake; daughters Lizzie and Sandy; son William; daughter-in-law Elizabeth; stepson Cameron; grandson Aiden and Mason;
granddaughter Isabella; mother Paulette; father Robert Sam; brothers Lowell and his wife Brandy and Darrell and his wife Jenny; brother-in-law Enrique "Chito" Flores and his wife Brandi; sister-in-law Jessica Stovall and her husband Doug; former spouse Sondra Thompson; former mother-in-law Sandra Flores; nieces Kieley and Samantha and nephews Mike, Jared, and Eli.

Visitation will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at Griffin Roughton located at 1530 North 45th St., Corsicana TX, 75110.

A celebration of life service, open for everyone, will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at the Potter's House located at 6777 W Kiest Blvd., Dallas TX, 75236.

A second celebration of life service, for the friends and loved ones of Brent, will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at Northside Baptist located at 2800 N Beaton Street, Corsicana TX,
75110.

A private burial will follow and is closed to family only.

Arrangements By Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home

Notes:


'Like a little war': Snipers shoot 11 police officers during Dallas protest march, killing five
By Michael E. Miller, Travis M. Andrews, Tim Madigan | The Washington Post
Jul 7, 2016


At least five Dallas law enforcement officers were killed and seven wounded Thursday evening as a protest over recent police shootings was interrupted by chaos.
After a peaceful march, the downtown suddenly exploded into violence at around 9 p.m. local time when gunshots echoed through the streets, sending protesters and police officers alike scattering for cover.
Four Dallas Police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer were killed by "snipers" perched atop "elevated positions," officials said. At least one civilian was also injured.
Videos circulating on social media showed an individual with an assault-style rifle shoot a police officer in the back at point-blank range.
A gunman, believed to be the same shooter, then engaged in a violent, three-hour standoff with SWAT officers, police said.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says the man in the standoff has died, but gave no other immediate details.
Rawlings gave CBS News details of the latest casualty count: 12people officers shot - five killed and seven wounded - and two other people also wounded by gunfire.
Three other suspects were also in custody, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said during a press conference before the standoff's end. Rawlings said one of those held was an African American woman, but gave no further information on the suspects or possible motives.
Official said no explosives were found in the initial searches.
"The suspect that we are in negotiation with that has exchanged gunfire with us over the last 45 minutes has told our negotiators that 'The end is coming' and he is going to hurt and kill more of us, meaning law enforcement, and that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and downtown," Brown said.
During the press conference, Brown said he wasn't sure if there were more suspects at large. "We still don't have a completecomfort level that we have all the suspects," he said.
The police chief said he was also unsure of the motive for the mass shooting, which was the worst attack on law enforcement since 9/11.
Brown said he believed the four suspects were "working together with rifles triangulated at elevated positions at different pointsin the downtown area, where the march ended up going."
He said it was unclear if the suspects were somehow connected to the protest, but added that detectives were investigating that possibility.
At a press conference from Warsaw, Poland, Friday morning, President Obama called the attack "vicious, calculated anddespicable."
"I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events," Obama said.
He called on Americans to "profess our profound gratitude to the men and women in blue" and to remember the victims, in particular.
"Today, our focus is on the victims and their families," Obama said. "They are heartbroken. The entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core."
On a night that began with a protest criticizing police, the chief praised the heroism of his officers.
"I've never been more proud of [being] a police officer and being a part of this great, noble profession, seeing the courage, the professionalism and just grit to stay on scene, looking for suspects, knowing that we are vulnerable," he said during the press conference. Brown said officers had run toward gunfire to
help one another and civilians.
Several people said officers helped save them, including one man who said an officer pushed him out of the way as shooting began. Bystanders captured footage of cops dragging fallen comrades outof the line of fire. Cameras also captured police officers choking back tears for their fallen colleagues. One officer appeared to brace himself against his SUV as grief overcame him.
"So many stories of great courage," Brown said.
The mayor Rawlings said it was "a heartbreaking morning" and called for unity.
"We as a city, we as a country, must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds we all feel," he said.
The incident came on a night when protests raged nationwide over the fatal police-involved shootings of two black men earlier in the week.
On Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge. Less than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Minnesota. Video footage of the killings or their aftermath spread quickly on social media, spurring widespread anger and renewing a debate over race and police departments' use of deadly force.
As in other cities across the country, protesters gathered in downtown Dallas just before 7 p.m. for a march from Belo GardenPark to the Old Red Courthouse.
For two hours, roughly 800 protesters marched peacefully, hanting and waiving signs. Their route took them past JFK Memorial Plaza, the site of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination.
Just a few blocks from the spot of the infamous shooting, another was about to begin.
'That's where the war began'
As dusk settled over the city, bullets suddenly began flying, the crack of high-powered ammunition cannoning off of skyscrapers and across downtown Dallas.
Terrified protesters scattered in all directions as startled cops gazed up in search of the origin of the shots.
Lynn Mays said he was standing on Lamar Street when the shooting began.
"All of a sudden we started hearing gunshots out of nowhere," he told the Dallas Morning News. "At first we couldn't identify it because we weren't expecting it, then we started hearing more, rapid fire. One police officer who was standing there pushed me out the way because it was coming our direction … next thing you know we heard 'officer down.'"
Undercover and uniformed police officers started running aroundthe corner and "froze," Mays said. "Police officers started shooting in one direction, and whoever was shooting started shooting back.
"And that's where the war began."
The shooting appears to have been heaviest around El Centro College, near Market and Main Street.
Protesters who had come to speak out against violence by police now suddenly found themselves in the crosshairs of violence apparently aimed at police.
Renee Sifflet, a mother of three teenagers who attended the rallyand march, said she lost track of one of her children during the ensuing chaos.
"I brought them here for a positive experience, something they could say they were part of when they're older, " she told the Dallas Morning News. "Then it turned negative."
Robert Rodriguez, 30, was passing through Dallas with his 14-year-old son. They weren't part of the protest but happened to be passing by it with the windows down when they heard four shotsring out. There was a pause and then a continuous volley for many seconds.
"Like a little war," he told The Washington Post.
Bullets sparked off of DART train tracks and smacked into walls of buildings behind their Yukon Denali, Rodriguez said. He circled the block and saw gunman dressed in camouflage, firing a long gun from his hip at officers. Officers crouched by a building returnedfire. One cop car screeched to a halt and its driver started firing as he stepped out.
The gunman didn't appear to be hit because he continued to run and fire, Rodriguez said. He then turned another corner away from gun battle.
"It was very intense," he said. "My only thought was to get somewhere safe and get my son out of the line of fire."
He said he saw a wounded female officer walking down the street holding her arm, being supported by another officer.
Stanley Brown, 19, was downtown near El Centro when the shooting began.
"You could hear the bullets whizzing by our car and hitting the buildings. A bullet missed our car by six feet," he told The Post. "We pulled into a garage and got out of our car and the bullets started hitting the walls of the garage."
Brown ran around the corner of a building to take cover, only to see a gunman running up the street.
"He was ducking and dodging and when police approached he ducked into El Centro," he said. He saw a SWAT team rush the college building, enabling five people to escape.
"An officer looked back at us and yelled that it was a terrorist attack," he said.
At least one protester, identified as 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor, was shot at the rally.
Her sister said Taylor was at the protests Thursday night withher four sons. Theresa Williams told the AP that when the shooting began, Taylor threw herself over her sons. She was shot in the calf and underwent surgery early Friday. Williams also said two of Taylor's sons became separated from their mother in the stampede for safety but were later reunited.
While most protesters ran for cover, a few turned their cameras from the demonstration to the chaos unfolding around them.
One man, identified as Michael Kevin, got so close to the El Centro parking garage, where much of the shooting took place, that officers ordered him to move back.
In perhaps the most shocking footage to emerge on the horrific and highly televised night, a gunman was filmed sneaking up behind a police officer and shooting the cop several times in the back at point-blank range. It is unclear if the officer survived.
"It looked like an execution honestly," Ismael DeJesus, who took the video from an apartment building, told CNN. DeJesus said he thought the gunman, who carried an assault-style rifle, was wearing body armor as he appeared to get shot and keep going.
The gunman then holed up inside of El Centro's garage, according to police. Dozens of cop cars surrounded the building as officers crouched behind their vehicles.
As he engaged in a shootout with officers, police took three other suspects into custody.
Two suspects were seen climbing into a black Mercedes with a camouflage bag before speeding off. They were apprehended in the Oak Cliff area, a suburb of Dallas.
The third suspect, a woman, was taken into custody near the El Centro garage.
Chief Brown said the three suspects were being interrogated but, as of 12:30 a.m. local time, had not provided information on the motive behind the brazen attack.
Even as Brown spoke to reporters, the fourth suspect was engaged in a standoff with police.
At around 1:26 a.m., there was "a loud boom and what sounded like shattering glass" near El Centro, according to Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Wilonsky.
At around 4 a.m. local time, CNN reported that the gunman holed up inside the garage was dead. Police have not yet confirmed the death and details remained murky Friday morning.
As the violence appeared to be winding down early Friday morning, the toll of the carnage was only beginning to emerge.
One thing that was clear, however, was the high cost on law enforcement.
Only one of the killed police officers had been identified as of early Friday morning. DART identified its fallen officer as 43-year-old Brent Thompson. He joined in 2009 and was the first
DART officer killed in the line of duty in the agency's 27-year history, according to a tweet.
"Brent was a great officer," DART Chief James Spiller told MSNBC.
"He has served admirably."
Thompson had just married a fellow DART officer two weeks earlier, CNN reported.
"As you can imagine, our hearts are broken," the agency said in a statement. "We are grateful to report the three other DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from
their injuries."
Their names are Omar Cannon, 44, Misty McBride, 32, and Jesus Retana, 39.
Tela Strickland, McBride's 14-year-old cousin, reacted with "shock" to news that her relative had been shot in the stomach and shoulder.
"I am so tired of seeing shootings in the news," she told The Post. "When you see your own family in the news, it's heartbreaking."
Dallas Police did not immediately identify its officers injured or killed in the attack.
Three of the department's officers were in critical condition Friday morning, the Morning News reported.Family members and friends of victims took to social media to share updates and prayers.
Many said they were proud of the dead or injured officers.
As the crisis unfolded Thursday night, Facebook activated its safety check feature, allowing people in the area of the shootings to let friends and family members know they were safe.
Cities across the country also expressed support for the victims.
Cleveland's Terminal Tower was bathed in blue light to support the fallen officers.
As dawn broke over Dallas Friday morning, the city remained in
mourning.
Outside Baylor University Hospital, doctors, nurses and medical personnel lined up outside the hospital around 6 a.m. local time to honor and shield from public view two police officers whose bodies were led out on gurneys, CNN reported. Beyond them, a line of police officers saluted their fallen colleagues.
Much of downtown Dallas would remain blocked off on Friday, Mayor Rawlings said during the press conference. He asked citizens to allow police officers to do their jobs.
"We've got to support our police force and [let them] do their job," he said, "to make sure we get to the bottom and the root cause of all of this."

Notes:


Community mourns: Corsicana honors Thompson, officers killed in Dallas shooting
By Deanna Kirk Daily Sun
Jul 8, 2016




 

Brent Thompson, who went to work for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) in 2009, was killed by a sniper Thursday night in downtown Dallas, following a peaceful protest. He was the first officer in DART history to die in the line of duty.
The impetus for the protest, which had gone on several hours without incident, were two videotaped shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. The movement was ending, and protesters were returning to their cars, when shots rang out Thursday evening just before 9 p.m. in downtown Dallas.

Candlelight prayer vigil in honor and memory of Brent Thompson
8 p.m. Sunday, July 10
Corsicana High School flagpole

Thompson is a native of Corsicana, with most of his family still residing here. His parents, Sam and Paulette, attend Northside Baptist Church. Coach Thompson served schools all over Navarro County, retiring from Corsicana Independent School District as athletic director. His elder brother, R. Lowell Thompson, is the Navarro County District Attorney. Brent has a younger brother, Darrell, a new wife of two weeks, seven children and two grandchildren.
Thompson, 43, graduated from Corsicana High School, and from the Navarro College Police Academy in Corsicana in 1997. He first went to work for the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, and was then hired by the Corsicana Independent School District Police Department.
“Brent completed a lot of in-service classes, such as SWAT training, at Navarro College,” said Meredith Chase of Navarro College. “He was overseas for a period of time serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he renewed his license in 2009 before going to work for DART.”

Brent Thompson, who went to work for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) in 2009, was killed by a sniper Thursday night in downtown Dallas, following a peaceful protest. He was the first officer in DART history to die in the line of duty.
The impetus for the protest, which had gone on several hours without incident, were two videotaped shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. The movement was ending, and protesters were returning to their cars, when shots rang out Thursday evening just before 9 p.m. in downtown Dallas.
•••••••
Candlelight prayer vigil in honor and memory of Brent Thompson
8 p.m. Sunday, July 10
Corsicana High School flagpole
•••••••
Thompson is a native of Corsicana, with most of his family still residing here. His parents, Sam and Paulette, attend Northside Baptist Church. Coach Thompson served schools all over Navarro County, retiring from Corsicana Independent School District as athletic director. His elder brother, R. Lowell Thompson, is the Navarro County District Attorney. Brent has a younger brother, Darrell, a new wife of two weeks, seven children and two grandchildren.
Thompson, 43, graduated from Corsicana High School, and from the Navarro College Police Academy in Corsicana in 1997. He first went to work for the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, and was then hired by the Corsicana Independent School District Police Department.
“Brent completed a lot of in-service classes, such as SWAT training, at Navarro College,” said Meredith Chase of Navarro College. “He was overseas for a period of time serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he renewed his license in 2009 before going to work for DART.”

Notes:


Home town mourns Dallas police officer’s slaying; describe him as devoted, brave, honorable
By Deanna Kirk | CNHI News Service
Jul 8, 2016

CORSICANA, Texas – Brent Thompson knew violence as a police trainer in Iraq and Afghanistan, but friends in his hometown said the last thing he’d expect is to be killed by a sniper on American soil.
“This one hits home because he is one of our own,” said Navarro County, Texas sheriff Elmer Tanner. “My heart just breaks.”
Thompson, 43, was one of five police officers assassinated in downtown Dallas Thursday night by what investigators said was a sole gunman near the conclusion of a protest march against recent police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
A divorced father of seven children and also a grandfather of two, Thompson served for nearly seven years on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police force, a duty that included helping keep people safe during the peaceful protest that ended in unimaginable tragedy.
Colleagues said he remarried only two weeks ago, to a fellow transit officer, and was in great spirits about the future.
“Brent was a great officer,” said James Spiller, DART police chief. “He was an outstanding patrol officer as well as a rail officer. We have the highest respect for him.”
Thompson grew up in Corsicana, just 50 miles south of Dallas, graduating from Corsicana High School in 1990 and from the local Navarro College Police Academy in 1997. His older brother, R. Lowell Thompson, is the local district attorney, and his father, Sam Thompson, is the retired athletic director of the Corsicana Independent School District.
Ten years ago, Brent led a team of American police trainers sent by DynCorp, a military contractor, to mentor Afghan and Iraq police forces. He described the experience as teaching the concepts of democratic policing on his LinkedIn profile.
Thompson launched his law enforcement career with the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, later joining the local school district police force.
Monica Moody, who graduated from high school with Thompson, wrote on Facebook that he was a “friend to many, a father, a brother, a son, a brave and honorable man who served our country and community. I don’t have the words to express the sadness I feel. I can only pray for his family and loved ones.”
Lavon Denson, a Navarro College police officer, said she had spoken with Thompson only three weeks ago.
“This one hits me hard,” said Denson. “I’ve known him so long. Brent started at DART when I started police academy. He saw me one day after I graduated and say, ‘You made it! Good girl!’”
Julie Reeves, a justice of the peace officer, cried when she learned of Thompson’s death. She said their children grew up together in Corsicana.
“Brent was a great guy, a great friend,” said Reeves. “He was the example of what a police officer stood for. He was always kind, never one to talk down to anyone; not even the people he dealt with in his line of duty.”
A candlelight vigil for Thompson and the other police officer victims of the Dallas sniper shooting will be held at 8 p.m. local time Sunday at the high school.

Notes:



Local law enforcement escorts Brent Thompson home
Daily Sun photos/Ron Farmer
Jul 9, 2016

 

Fallen DART Officer and Dallas shooting victim Brent Thompson was brought home Saturday to Corsicana for funeral services.
Multiple law enforcement agencies including the Navarro County Sheriff's Office, the Corsicana Police Department, Navarro College Police Department and the Corsicana Independent School District Police Department escorted the procession from Dallas to Corsicana.
A candlelight vigil is planned for 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Corsicana High School flagpole.
Funeral services are pending at this time.

Notes:


Candlelight vigil honors Brent Thompson and family
Daily Sun photos/Ron Farmer
Jul 10, 2016

A candlelight vigil was held Sunday at Corsicana High School to honor fallen DART Officer and Dallas shooting victim Brent Thompson and family.

Thompson was a Corsicana High School graduate, NCSO Deputy and CISD officer.

Notes:


Corsicana Strong: Community comes together to show support for Thompson family
By Deanna Kirk Daily Sun
Jul 12, 2016
Daily Sun photo/Christa Kormos

While the rest of the nation seemed to be whipping into a frenzy following the ambush Thursday evening in downtown Dallas; in Corsicana, the atmosphere was vastly different.
The shock waves reverberated through the community on Friday, as word spread the DART officer killed along with four Dallas Police Department officers was Brent Alan Thompson, native of Corsicana. The irony escaped few that Thompson had served his country as a United States Marine, and spent time in the most dangerous parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be gunned down in the streets of downtown Dallas after a peaceful protest.
Saturday, a motorcade including Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, Corsicana Independent School District, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Corsicana Police Department, DPS, and several volunteer fire departments accompanied Bill Roughton driving the hearse to Dallas to the medical examiner’s office to bring Thompson home.
But it was the ride back that was memorable.
The streets of Corsicana were lined with residents along the route — men, women and children, some holding flags, some with hands or caps over their hearts, but most with tears in their eyes or streaming down their cheeks — waiting over an hour on a hot July afternoon for their hometown hero. Corsicana Fire Department had the fire engines out, the ladder truck at Second Ave. and 24th St. with a huge American flag hanging from it.
It wasn’t just the people in the town, though.
“It was unbelievable,” said Bill Roughton, who was driving the hearse. “I’ve been in this business all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like this. At one place just south of Ennis, there were three semis that stopped going north, and they stopped and blocked the whole road. Just south of Ennis nearly to Chambers Creek, the cars were all stopped with people standing outside of the cars with hands over their hearts.”
Even every overpass was filled with people and flags, saluting or covering their hearts out of respect for Officer Thompson.
Roughton said since Thompson’s arrival at Griffin-Roughton, along with his accompanying DART officers (they are keeping vigil 24/7), the people of the community have been bringing barbecue, pies, cakes, cookies. As soon as they rolled in from Dallas, Chili’s showed up to bring food for those who stayed. Roughton had just received a call from a woman asking what they needed, and she told him she’d be there with sandwich trays, cheese trays and coffee.
“We’ve got food all over the place out here,” he said. “People have been unbelievable. It’s really been something.”
Roughton said the officers here from Dallas tell him there are good people in Dallas, but they’re amazed at the small-town caring they’ve received.
Officer Christopher Cobb worked with Thompson at DART, and was assigned to coordinate the officers being with Thompson around the clock, as well as escorting him to Dallas for the service at The Potter’s House, then back to Corsicana for the service at Northside Baptist Church. Cobb and Thompson are both veterans, and bonded over swapping war stories. They worked the central business district downtown. Cobb said Thompson was well-respected, and well-loved by his fellow officers, and always wanted to do the right thing.
“We’re all leaning on each other, giving each other support,” Cobb said. “Taking care of each other, checking on each other, and just being there for them. Even though we have heavy hearts, our profession doesn’t stop. We have to persevere and push through and continue to do the job we swore to do, even though Brent is on our minds. Brent was always there for everybody else.”
Cobb said the Corsicana Police Department, Navarro County Sheriff’s Office, Corsicana ISD Police, all have been amazingly helpful.
“Everyone has been coming up here saying thank you, bringing food and water, and checking on us,” he said. “I think we’ve probably met most of the community. It’s kind of been overwhelming. We are all brothers in blue, but now we feel like members of the community.”
Sunday night, a candlelight prayer vigil was held on the Corsicana High School campus, the same campus where Thompson once served as CISD Police. Though the crowd was immense, there was a hush that settled over it, as if each person did not want to miss a word that was said.
Steven Bell, pastor of First United Methodist Church and chaplain of Corsicana Police Department, opened the service with a heartfelt prayer. He was followed by Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner.
“I’ve been a law enforcement officer in the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office for over 28 years, right here in this community,” Tanner said. “I’ve never been touched like I was yesterday when we went to bring our fallen brother home to the city he so dearly loved and was raised in.”
Darrell Thompson, Brent’s brother, spoke for the family, and began with a verse from Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Who shall I send, and who will go forth?’ and I said, ‘Here am I, send me.’” as his voice broke.
“On July 7, 2016, Brent Thompson said ‘Here am I, send me,’ and he put himself in harm’s way to protect his fellow officers and citizens of Dallas, Texas,” Darrell said. “He is a hero, but our family already knew that.
“This is hard on our family, but the fact that Brent is a Christian and had already given his life to Christ eases our pain because we know we will see him again.”
Darrell spoke of how on Friday, when people were wanting to know about his brother, he didn’t understand it, and he implied that their family wanted to be left alone, like any other family, to grieve in private. But after seeing the show of support when the officers brought Brent home on Saturday, he understood a bit better what the prying was about.
Darrell looked at his brother’s beautiful children and grandchildren sitting with the rest of the family, and made sure to emphasize, “Brent loved his family more than they will ever know.”
“Christ came to serve, to set the example for us to follow,” he said. “Brent served pretty much his entire adult life. He served our God, he served our family, he served his country, and he served his community. We love him, and we will never forget him.
“God bless. Thank you for all showing your respect for my brother.”

Notes:


While the rest of the nation seemed to be whipping into a frenzy following the ambush Thursday evening in downtown Dallas; in Corsicana, the atmosphere was vastly different.
The shock waves reverberated through the community on Friday, as word spread the DART officer killed along with four Dallas Police Department officers was Brent Alan Thompson, native of Corsicana. The irony escaped few that Thompson had served his country as a United States Marine, and spent time in the most dangerous parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be gunned down in the streets of downtown Dallas after a peaceful protest.
Saturday, a motorcade including Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, Corsicana Independent School District, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Corsicana Police Department, DPS, and several volunteer fire departments accompanied Bill Roughton driving the hearse to Dallas to the medical examiner’s office to bring Thompson home.
But it was the ride back that was memorable.
The streets of Corsicana were lined with residents along the route — men, women and children, some holding flags, some with hands or caps over their hearts, but most with tears in their eyes or streaming down their cheeks — waiting over an hour on a hot July afternoon for their hometown hero. Corsicana Fire Department had the fire engines out, the ladder truck at Second Ave. and 24th St. with a huge American flag hanging from it.
It wasn’t just the people in the town, though.
“It was unbelievable,” said Bill Roughton, who was driving the hearse. “I’ve been in this business all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like this. At one place just south of Ennis, there were three semis that stopped going north, and they stopped and blocked the whole road. Just south of Ennis nearly to Chambers Creek, the cars were all stopped with people standing outside of the cars with hands over their hearts.”
Even every overpass was filled with people and flags, saluting or covering their hearts out of respect for Officer Thompson.
Roughton said since Thompson’s arrival at Griffin-Roughton, along with his accompanying DART officers (they are keeping vigil 24/7), the people of the community have been bringing barbecue, pies, cakes, cookies. As soon as they rolled in from Dallas, Chili’s showed up to bring food for those who stayed. Roughton had just received a call from a woman asking what they needed, and she told him she’d be there with sandwich trays, cheese trays and coffee.
“We’ve got food all over the place out here,” he said. “People have been unbelievable. It’s really been something.”
Roughton said the officers here from Dallas tell him there are good people in Dallas, but they’re amazed at the small-town caring they’ve received.
Officer Christopher Cobb worked with Thompson at DART, and was assigned to coordinate the officers being with Thompson around the clock, as well as escorting him to Dallas for the service at The Potter’s House, then back to Corsicana for the service at Northside Baptist Church. Cobb and Thompson are both veterans, and bonded over swapping war stories. They worked the central business district downtown. Cobb said Thompson was well-respected, and well-loved by his fellow officers, and always wanted to do the right thing.
“We’re all leaning on each other, giving each other support,” Cobb said. “Taking care of each other, checking on each other, and just being there for them. Even though we have heavy hearts, our profession doesn’t stop. We have to persevere and push through and continue to do the job we swore to do, even though Brent is on our minds. Brent was always there for everybody else.”
Cobb said the Corsicana Police Department, Navarro County Sheriff’s Office, Corsicana ISD Police, all have been amazingly helpful.
“Everyone has been coming up here saying thank you, bringing food and water, and checking on us,” he said. “I think we’ve probably met most of the community. It’s kind of been overwhelming. We are all brothers in blue, but now we feel like members of the community.”
Sunday night, a candlelight prayer vigil was held on the Corsicana High School campus, the same campus where Thompson once served as CISD Police. Though the crowd was immense, there was a hush that settled over it, as if each person did not want to miss a word that was said.
Steven Bell, pastor of First United Methodist Church and chaplain of Corsicana Police Department, opened the service with a heartfelt prayer. He was followed by Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner.
“I’ve been a law enforcement officer in the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office for over 28 years, right here in this community,” Tanner said. “I’ve never been touched like I was yesterday when we went to bring our fallen brother home to the city he so dearly loved and was raised in.”
Darrell Thompson, Brent’s brother, spoke for the family, and began with a verse from Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Who shall I send, and who will go forth?’ and I said, ‘Here am I, send me.’” as his voice broke.
“On July 7, 2016, Brent Thompson said ‘Here am I, send me,’ and he put himself in harm’s way to protect his fellow officers and citizens of Dallas, Texas,” Darrell said. “He is a hero, but our family already knew that.
“This is hard on our family, but the fact that Brent is a Christian and had already given his life to Christ eases our pain because we know we will see him again.”
Darrell spoke of how on Friday, when people were wanting to know about his brother, he didn’t understand it, and he implied that their family wanted to be left alone, like any other family, to grieve in private. But after seeing the show of support when the officers brought Brent home on Saturday, he understood a bit better what the prying was about.
Darrell looked at his brother’s beautiful children and grandchildren sitting with the rest of the family, and made sure to emphasize, “Brent loved his family more than they will ever know.”
“Christ came to serve, to set the example for us to follow,” he said. “Brent served pretty much his entire adult life. He served our God, he served our family, he served his country, and he served his community. We love him, and we will never forget him.
“God bless. Thank you for all showing your respect for my brother.”

Notes:


Daily Sun photo/Deanna Kirk


Lowell, Paulette and Sam Thompson at the family cemetery in Brushie Prairie where Brent Thompson was laid to rest after the Dallas Ambush. Sam's family is buried in the Dresden Cemetery, and Paulette's in the Brushie Prairie cemetery. The Thompson family cemetery is located between those two cemeteries on land that's been in the family since 1899.

One year later: Thompsons reflect on generosity following son’s passing

By Deanna Kirk Daily Sun
One year ago, life changed forever in an instant for the Thompson family of Corsicana.

A close-knit family whose men either coached kids’ sports or enforced the law, matriarch Paulette Raley Thompson and husband Sam, who many call affectionately “Coach,” had been to the Masonic hall to pick up a lawn mower they’d won in a drawing.

“We were giggling and laughing and cutting up like a couple of high school kids,” Sam said. “We came home, sat in our usual places, turned on the TV. We saw the peaceful march (in Dallas), and I could’ve sworn I saw Brent.”

The Thompson’s middle son, Brent, a Marine, had been to Afghanistan, and became a police officer, and was working for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit. He had married Emily, another DART officer, just two weeks prior to July 7.

“About that time we heard the shooting ...” Sam said. “Paulette looked at me, didn’t say a word, I didn’t say a word, but with mother’s intuition ... somehow communicated that Brent was involved.”

They called Lowell, the eldest son who serves as District Attorney of Navarro County, but he said he could not talk right then. They knew that was not a good sign. Lowell came to get them, and all they knew at that point was that Brent was wounded. On their way to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Lowell received another call while they were going through Ennis, and he had to inform his parents that Brent had been fatally wounded.

“My only comment on that is it was over 5,000 miles from Ennis to Baylor Hospital,” Sam said. “It was the longest trip of my life.”

They were allowed in to see him, and his color was still good, he was still warm. He just looked as if he were asleep, Sam said.
Then the family was asked if it was all right if they moved him to another room so some officers could see him. Things after that became sort of a blur. Youngest son Darrell, who lives in Crosby, was notified he could wait until morning to make the trip to Corsicana.

Beauty from ashes

“The next morning my upline at Ambit Energy was standing at my door — Don Boyd, James Stapleton, and the Singletarys,” Sam said. “They had more chicken than I’d ever seen in my life.”

The woman at Golden Chick, upon hearing who the chicken was for, just gave all the food to Thompson’s friends. She herself had a daughter who was a police officer in Waxahachie, so her empathy was heartfelt.

“Don said, we want to buy the headstone,” Sam said. “At the time I was in another world, and I said okay — didn’t know what to say. Later on he handed us a shoebox full of money, and we did get him a nice headstone. Brent was a regional consultant for Ambit.”

People from Ambit all over the United States donated money for Brent’s headstone,” Paulette said. “It was a special thing at the national convention.”

There were two funeral services held for Brent and a graveside. The first, at The Potter’s House in Dallas, was attended by other policemen from all over the nation. The second was held at Northside Baptist Church, and Pastor Rick Lamb did both services. Sam said he couldn’t express enough thanks to Rick Lamb, and to Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home.

“The Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, Police Department — all of them were there for us,” he said. “Kenneth Dunagan of the CPD went to Washington D.C. with us. It was really nice for him to show up in Washington, and also the hard work he did in Corsicana for us.”

Thompson also expressed big thanks to all the cafes and restaurants in town who brought food for the policemen who were at Griffin-Roughton around the clock. He specifically mentioned Chili’s, Old Mexican Inn, the Country Club, and Vicky Prater.
Awards and scholarships began springing up almost immediately. Though the Thompsons were overwhelmed with the national media attention, they were and are so grateful for all those who thought enough of Brent to start a scholarship, or establish an award in his name. The Brent Thompson Memorial Scholarship is for anyone seeking a police career to attend the Police Academy at Navarro College. It is done through the Child Advocacy Center, and Officer Scott Stephens who does the fundraiser for that entity. The 100 Club named an Officer of the Year Award for him.

“The Southeast Coaches Association gave a Brent Thompson Memorial Scholarship, which went to an athlete, with the first going to a kid in Crosby, where Darrell coaches,” he said. “The Texas High School Football Hall of Fame board, we appreciated their thoughts, prayers and flowers. We also got cards, letters and monetary gifts for Brent’s kids from over 44 different states’ Masonic Lodges. That is near and dear to me.”

The Grand Officers of the Masonic Lodge of Texas performed the graveside ceremony. One gentleman was from Avalon, and played basketball against Sam.

“It is a pretty rare occurrence to have all those grand officers together at one time,” Lowell said.

Cory Neal, a young man who had been coached by Thompson, wanted to help. He is in the real estate business, so he had signs made that said “Back the Blue — In honor of Officer Brent Thompson.” The signs were sold in the metroplex where Neal now lives and in Corsicana by Denise Harper and her real estate team, and the money raised given to the family.

“We went to eat at Norma’s Cafe in Dallas where Brent used to eat and have coffee in the mornings,” Sam said. “We gave them a sign when we ate there. The way we knew that he went there is because Mrs. Sirman and Cindy Griggs were there eating one day, and saw pictures of Brent on the walls.

“Anyway, a couple of days later the sign was stolen, and they got it on camera. A mother recognized her daughter from the video, and said it was nothing against the police, the girl was just mad at a waiter, and made the girl bring the sign back.”
Thompson said a fellow named Bob Reddish contacted him about wanting to do a car show. People from all over the state came and brought their cars, and the money was to go to the Brent Thompson Fallen Officer Fund. It has a board that decides how the money will be spent. A few days later Reddish called Sam and said Deputy Darren Murray with the NCSO had been killed in an auto accident.

“We knew Brent would have done this,” Sam said. “The money raised from the car show was divided three ways between Brent’s kids, Darren Murray’s family, and the family of Chester Jones, a CPD officer who died on the job last year.”

There were also trips to meet people they might not have met otherwise. Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, had all five families of the slain officers come to training camp in Oxnard, California. Sam said they immediately bonded with Valerie Zamarripa, Patrick’s mother, because they were all parents. They formed a friendship, and Paulette and Valerie even appeared together on the Dr. Oz show. When Brent’s baby son William graduated high school and a party was held for him, the Zamarripa family was there.

“We were walking in New York City, and we wandered into St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” Sam said about himself, Paulette and Valerie. “We were getting ready to leave, and I went up to a NYC Cop. I said Brent came up to NYC after 9/11 and drove your police cars, worked with you, and grieved with them. When the officer found out he was one of the Dallas Five, she said, ‘I was at your son’s funeral.’

“Turned out she was at Patrick’s funeral, but she got out a roll of keys like a high school janitor. She showed us all these special places in the Cathedral, places most people don’t get to go.”

Ann Marie Wood, the NYPD officer, showed them the seat where the Pope sits when he’s in the United States, as well as the basement where the cardinals are entombed.

There was a trip in May of this year to the capitol, where Sam, Paulette, Lowell and his family, and Brent’s children all went to Washington D.C. President Trump and Vice President Pence spoke to them in front of the capitol building, and they visited the Smithsonian, Lincoln Memorial, the Korean Memorial, which was all educational and enjoyable, Sam said.

There was a street named for their son, Officer Brent Thompson Way in Dallas. DART preserved his locker exactly as he left it, with plexiglass over it, where all his fellow DART officers signed it, as well as his family.

They met President Obama and Vice President Biden and his wife while they were still in office, and President Bush.

“The President spent about 30 minutes with us,” Sam said. “When the most powerful man in the United States spends time grieving with you, it’s pretty powerful.”

When Brent was brought home, it was unannounced. Lowell went to his dad and asked, “Have you been in downtown Corsicana?” and they got in a car and drove around town, to see all the people lining the streets to honor him.

“Corsicana and Navarro County really represented well,” Sam said.

“It’s just amazing the support that you get from all over,” Lowell said.

The candlelight vigil held at the High School on Sunday evening after the attack on Thursday was emotional for the entire family. Media were there from all over, television and print, and but what really touched them was all the coaches and superintendent from Crosby who were there to support Darrell, who spoke for the family that night.

They met Snoop Dogg and Attorney General Loretta Lynch (not together), flew on Jerry Jones’ private jet, and talked to Coach Jackie Sherrill, Coach Jason Garrett, hugged Jerry Jones and Darrell “Moose” Johnson.

“We went to a meeting with the FBI, CIA, etc. and they told us Brent was a hero,” Sam said. “This was months later. Basically, the shooter came by, and was getting out of his van, putting on his armor. He asked a lady walking by if she’d heard of police shootings. She said no and kept walking.”

Brent had just called his wife of two weeks, Emily, and said it was nearly over and he was about to come home. When Brent spotted the shooter, he charged him, wounding him. He prevented the shooter from killing approximately 20 cops who were headed right for him, Sam said.

“One man whose life Brent saved gave me a coin that is so special to me,” Sam said. “At the end of the day, he’s not here. But there have been so many great and wonderful things people have done for us, it’s unbelievable.”

The Thompson family cemetery

About 10 years ago, Sam and his three sons were just out riding around, and the topic of a family cemetery came up. Some land in Brushie Prairie that went back generations, both in the Thompson and Raley families, is still in their family. Nearly every Thanksgiving, Sam and his boys would hunt something out on the family land. Male bonding times were plentiful out at Brushie Prairie, where many good memories were made.

One particular plot of land once had a house on it, where Paulette’s father and his five brothers were raised. Oddly enough, Sam and his family lived in the house at one time, too. Sam distinctly recalls being able to see Navarro Mills Lake from the house, as well as his mother planting flowers, two of which remain.

Everyone liked the idea of making a family cemetery on that site except Brent. Sam said, “Why not? You’ve got more kids than all of us put together! You’d go broke just buying plots for all of them.”

Brent agreed, but with one stipulation — that Lowell be buried over the septic tank.

Sam had mentioned to Paulette that they’d best get busy on the cemetery, getting ready, because he wasn’t getting any younger and “had a few nicks on me.” Never did he dream that he would not be the first Thompson buried in the family plot.

“In 2015, we made a little money on the hay and bought pipe with it, so we had the pipe (to make the fence),” Sam said. “After July 7, my nephews took the bull by the horns and did all the work — Colt Lawhon, John Lawhon and Big Country (also known as James Jordan).”

The beautiful headstone is beneath a giant shade tree, in a place that’s peaceful, serene, and where only the sounds of nature can be heard. Two plants they’ve mowed down a hundred times have come back yet again, and two weeks after the burial, they bloomed.

“A big, beautiful white bloom,” Paulette said. “They’d never done it before, and it hasn’t happened again since.”

Sam has it all mapped out, with each generation having its own row, branching off from he and Paulette at the head. It just so happens Brent is right in the center. The gate stays locked, but every DART officer has the combination, so they may come whenever they wish. The headstone has four quarters laid upon it, which have each been placed there by an officer who was with him when he was killed.

The Thompsons go out there, a 20-minute drive from town, at least twice a week since the burial. Sam is focused on getting the grass like he wants it. There’s still a bit of painting to do on the fence. But it is a place where they feel close to him, and Paulette will not allow the flowers to become weathered or faded.

“So many awards and kind words,” Sam said. “We are told he saved lives. There have been so many positive things that it’s just truly unbelievable.

“But at the end of the day, when the sun goes down, he is not here. That is tough.”
Corsicana Daily Sun - Friday, July 7, 2017
 


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