More than 5,000 turned out Wednesday for the funeral for Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, the larger-than-life Dallas police officer who made his home in Burleson.
At Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, mourners were told of Ahrens' work with the Los Angeles County sheriff's department and time as semipro football player before moving to Texas and joining the Dallas police force.
"He was the gentle giant," friend and fellow police officer Sr. Cpl. Eddie Coffey said. "I never thought a corn-fed country boy like myself would be a friend to someone from Los Angeles with tattoos."
Ahrens colleagues have told law enforcement officers from as far away as Canada that he was a voracious reader with an intelligence that was equal to his 6-foot-5, 300-pound frame.
"His voice and size intimidated many, but he had the biggest heart and the best intentions," said Coffey.
Ahrens was remembered not only as a dedicated officer, but also as a dedicated family man.
Ahrens leaves behind a daughters, age 10 and son, age 8 as well as his wife, Katrina, who is a Dallas police detective.
"Katrina you were his co-worker," Coffey said as got choked up. "You were his best friend. And his dedicated wife."
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Police Chief David Brown attended the service.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"While we are all struggling with the loss of Lorne, remember to honor his memory by honoring his life," said fellow Dallas Officer Debbie Taylor. "Lorne's life mattered."
Taylor said Ahrens would want everyone to enthusiastically celebrate his life.
"Celebrate his life by taking care of one another and watching out for each other at work. Celebrate his life by telling Lorne stories and laughing out loud," Taylor said. "But please, please celebrate his life by being there for his family long after media attention goes away and time moves forward."
Ahrens was one of five officers slain by a lone gunman in downtown Dallas July 8.
Services were also held Wednesday for Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson and Dallas police Sgt. Michael Smith.
Dallas police officer Michael Krol's funeral is set for Friday, and Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa's funeral will be held Saturday.