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Friday, May 24, 2019

President Awards Medal of Valor Posthumously To Fallen Dallas Mason

Photo by NBC
President Donald Trump has awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor posthumously to fallen Brother Brent Alan Thompson, 43, Master Mason of Corsicana Lodge No. 174, and a member of the Black Gold Chapter of DeMolay, Corsicana, Texas. He was a former Marine, and nearly a seven-year veteran of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency (D.A.R.T.). Brother Thompson was called to the celestial lodge above after his heroic actions during the Dallas ambush shooting on July 7, 2016. 

He was killed just two weeks after his wedding to his new wife Emily, and about two weeks short of his 44th birthday.

The sniper attack resulted in the shooting of twelve police officers at what had been a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas. Micah Xavier Johnson (25) of Mesquite, TX fired the shots that killed five officers including Brother Thompson, and wounded seven others. Two civilians were also injured in the shootings. It was the deadliest event for police officers in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. 

Johnson, who was black, had deliberately targeted white police officers as "revenge" over police shootings and alleged "profiling" of black suspects that had dominated the national news that year. He was killed after a long, defiant standoff with police that night, during which he claimed he had planted explosives throughout the city. Following the incident, police discovered bomb making materials and Johnson's plans for even more and larger mass attacks, had he escaped.

Brother Thompson was survived by his wife Emily, and six children. Emily Thompson is also a DART police officer. Emily, Brent's parents, and DART Police Sargent Richard Tear attended the ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to accept Thompson's award.

He was the first DART officer killed in the line of duty in the department's history and died just two weeks before his 44th birthday in the ambush shootings. “He gave his life while engaging a mass shooter and saving the lives of countless civilians and fellow officers during a protest march in Dallas on July 7, 2016,” DART said in a statement.

In his remarks at the ceremony, President Trump described Brother Thompson's final acts of courage on that day two summers ago:
On July 7, 2016, Dallas Police Officer Brent Thompson was on duty during a large protest against law enforcement that soon turned violent when a gunman opened fire on the police. Brent charged across the three-lane road and fired on the shooter. Brent was killed instantly in the firefight, but his act of courage saved many lives. Many, many lives...
"Every officer, firefighter and first responder who receives this award embodies the highest ideals of service and sacrifice, character and courage."
Congress passed the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act in 2001, which created the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer.

There is another tragic footnote to this story. Brent's son William, who had also been an active member of the Black Gold DeMolay Chapter, passed away just a year and a half later, on November 20, 2017. He was just 19. 

According to police, William had shot himself.

Brother Brent Alan Thompson was laid in his final resting place on July 12, 2016 in a private cemetery on his family's farm in Corsicana, Texas. His son now rests beside him.

His brethren mourn.

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