Thousands of police officers joined by ordinary citizens attended the funerals for three of the five policemen shot dead by a sniper in Dallas. The funeral of Officer Lorne Ahrens, 48, of the Dallas Police Department, was held in the suburb of Plano. Mourners were told of Ahrens' work with the Los Angeles County sheriff's department and time as semi-pro football player before moving to Texas and joining the Dallas police force.

Dallas police chief honours fallen officers by reciting Stevie WonderReuters

The 6ft 5in, 300-pound Ahrens was known as a gentle giant and a voracious reader whose intelligence was equal to his size. Dallas police officer Eddie Coffey described Ahrens as a calming presence and a down-to-earth man. "He was the guy you always wanted to show up as your backup," Coffey said. "He wanted to make sure everyone, from top down, made it home safely."

Dallas police funerals
Magnus Ahrens sits on the wagon carrying his father, Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Lorne B Ahrens, who was among five police officers shot dead the previous week, during the burial ceremony at Restland Public Safety Memorial Gardens in Dallas, TexasCooper Neill/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Magnus Ahrens carries a folded US flag after the burial ceremony for his father at Restland Public Safety Memorial Gardens in DallasCooper Neill/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
A funeral procession of police vehicles leads a hearse carrying the body of Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Lorne B AhrensRex Curry/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
The hearse carrying the body of Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Lorne B Ahrens enters Restland Memorial Park in DallasBrandon Wade/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Youths stand with their hands on their hearts as as the motorcade for slain Dallas police officer Lorne Ahrens drives into the cemetery for his funeralCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Dallas police officer Eddie Coffey reacts while speaking at the funeral for Officer Lorne Ahrens in PlanoCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Police officers pay their respects ahead of the funeral for Officer Lorne Ahrens in Plano, TexasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Trooper Chantz Jackson of the Oklahoma Highway patrol gives a salute back to Preston Chavez, three, in the parking lot for the funeral service for Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TexasStewart F House/Getty Images
Dallas police funerals
Black bands are seen across the badges on the chests of police officers attending the funeral of slain Dallas police officer Lorne AhrensCarlo Allegri/Reuters

At a Dallas megachurch called The Potter's House, thousands of officers crowded into the funeral for 43-year-old Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson. His wife Emily, a fellow DART officer whom he had married just two weeks before the attack, told the audience that the shooter, Micah Johnson, was a coward. "You know your hate made us stronger," she said.

Johnson was a former US Army Reserve soldier who told police that he was angry about the killing of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier that week and wanted to "kill white people", especially police. The shootings were the latest in a series of high-profile police killings of black men in various US cities that have brought intense scrutiny of police use of force, particularly against black suspects.

Dallas police funerals
Relatives grieve as Officer Brent Thompson's coffin is escorted out of the memorial service at The Potter's House in DallasLaura Buckman/AFP
Dallas police funerals
Police officers salutes the coffin of Officer Brent Thompson as it is escorted out of the memorial service at The Potter's House Church in DallasLaura Buckman/AFP
Dallas police funerals
A black band is stretched across the shield on a Dallas Area Rapid Transit police motorcycle during the funeral service for DART officer Brent Thompson at the Potter's House Church in DallasJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

A few hundred mourners gathered for a Catholic funeral service in the suburb of Farmers Branch for Dallas Police Sergeant Michael Smith, 55, a former US Army Ranger known for his upbeat attitude and compassionate approach to others. Smith joined the Dallas police force in 1989. He once received a "Cops' Cop" award from the Dallas Police Association.

Dallas police funerals
Members of the New Jersey State Police salute a flag-draped coffin containing the body of slain Dallas police Sgt Michael Smith at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch, TexasGJ McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Police officers hug outside Mary Immaculate Catholic Church for Dallas police Sergeant Michael Smith's funeral serviceCarlo Allegri/Reuters

The funerals came a day after US President Barack Obama praised the slain officers' heroism, condemned the attack as an "act not just of demented violence but of racial hatred" and made an impassioned plea for national unity.

Dallas memorial
US President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas, TexasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
First lady Michelle Obama comforts former President George W Bush during a memorial service in DallasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
An honour guard stands in front of images of the five slain officers during a memorial service in DallasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Police patches from around the United States are pictured at a makeshift memorial at police headquarters in DallasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
A 'Dallas Strong' sign is pictured at a makeshift memorial at police headquarters in DallasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
A wreath stands in front of the Dallas Police department headquartersJustin Sullivan/Getty Images
Dallas police funerals
A man with a Mohawk and 'Back The Blue' written on his head attends a candlelight vigil at Dallas City HallCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
A man offers free hugs to mourners at a memorial in front of the Dallas Police department headquartersJustin Sullivan/Getty Images
Dallas police funerals
The shadows of three police officers are cast on a 'Dallas Strong' sign at a makeshift memorial at police headquarters in DallasCarlo Allegri/Reuters
Dallas police funerals
Police officers attend a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in DallasCarlo Allegri/Reuters

Funerals for the other two slain officers, Michael Krol, 40, and Patrick Zamarripa, 32, are expected later in the week.