Lorne Ahrens. Photo via Facebook
Lorne Ahrens with his wife, Katrina. Photo via Facebook

One of the police officers killed by a sniper during a protest in Dallas was formerly employed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, whose former colleagues remembered him Friday as a big guy with a ready smile.

Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens was one of five officers killed in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack by a lone gunman Thursday night during a protest sparked by recent fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Ahrens was employed by the sheriff’s department as a dispatcher from 1991 through Jan. 23, 2002, and was stationed at the Lennox and Lancaster stations, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese.

The former San Fernando Valley resident started with the Dallas Police Department four days after leaving the sheriff’s force, according to the sergeant.

“His colleagues today at the LASD are describing him as the type of person who always had a smile on his face and greeted you with kind regard,” Boese said. “They said he was an incredible dispatcher who served the patrol deputies in the field well by always looking out for them and taking officer safety into account when dispatching calls for service.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Merrill Ladenheim called Ahrens, a former semi-pro football player who was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed about 300 pounds, “a big guy with an even bigger heart.”

“He will be sorely missed by the LASD family,” Ladenheim said. “Our thoughts and our prayers go out to Lorne’s family and all the men and women of the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police and the great state of Texas.”

Ahrens’ father told CBS2 that he was extremely proud of his son, who grew up in Canoga Park.

“He did an excellent job as a police officer,” William Ahrens said in a video chat from his home in Alaska. “He loved the job. He died doing what he loved.”

— City News Service

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