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Police officer Michael Smith, among Dallas victims, was an Army Ranger vet

One slain officer was a newlywed. Another had survived multiple tours in Iraq, only to be killed back home in the U.S. A protester who doesn't normally march was shot trying to shield her sons.

The stories of those killed or wounded in a sniper attack in Dallas during a protest over recent police shootings of black men emerged Friday as their identities became known. Authorities say five officers were killed and seven others wounded in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Two civilians also were shot.

Among the victims was Michael Smith, 55, a veteran officer who was once selected by the Dallas Police Association's for the "Cops' Cop" award.

Father Michael Forge, pastor at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, notified parishioners of Smith's death in an email sent Friday. Smith, his wife Heidi and their two daughters were part of the parish in Farmers Branch north of Dallas.

"As you may have heard by now officer Mike Smith, husband of fourth grade teacher Heidi Smith and father of Victoria (Class of 2016) and Caroline (incoming 4th grade) was shot and killed last night in Dallas while on duty," Father Michael Forge wrote. "I'm asking all of us to pull together in prayer and support for the Smith family, as well as the other officers' families who were killed along with Mike."

Smith was a U.S. Army Ranger before joining the Dallas Police Department in 1989.

He was recognized as conscientious and for his positive attitude, according to a 2009 newsletter for the Dallas Police Association. He strove for excellence, often attending advanced training on his own dime and strove for excellence.

Several years ago, he intervened when a gang member lunged at his partner. Smith was cut on the head during the incident and received 31 stitches.

He was a volunteer at the YMCA and his church, and was involved in working with kids at risk, and once developed a racquetball program for kids at the local YMCA, the newsletter said.

"He's just a really nice guy. He loved his wife, loved his daughters. He spent time with his family. The whole situation is really sad," Vanessa Smith, a friend of the officer's wife who is not related to the family, told The Associated Press.

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