Cuba Gooding Jr., the actor known for roles in movies like Boyz n the Hood and Jerry Maguire, and more recently for his portrayal of O.J. Simpson on FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, met one of the police officers killed in this past week’s tragedy in Dallas back in February.
The officer — Patrick Zamarripa — tweeted this on February 25 after meeting the actor.
Zamarripa and four other police officers — Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens — were shot and killed by a sniper in Dallas during a protest on Thursday night. Seven others were injured. Two civilians were also shot. Among the wounded were Jorge Barrientos, Misty McBride, Gretchen Rocha, Jesus Retana, and Shetamia Taylor.
TMZ caught up with Cuba Gooding Jr. on the street and asked him if he had a message for Zamarripa’s family. The actor, who clearly didn’t wish to give the outlet his time, simply responded that he cried when learning of the tragedy. TMZ did get this on video.
According to the Associated Press, Zamarripa was a veteran of the Navy, having survived three tours in Iraq only to be gunned down in his homeland. He was married with a 2-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old stepson. He joined the Dallas police department five years ago. The Associated Press spoke with Zamarripa’s father.
“Rick Zamarripa knew his son was assigned to patrol Thursday’s demonstrations, so when he saw news of the shooting on TV, he texted his son to make sure he was all right. The father did that whenever he heard officers were in danger. Typically, his son would text back quickly to say he was fine and would call back later. This time, no reply came.”
Zamarripa was quite active on Twitter before and after his encounter with Cuba Gooding Jr. The account remains live, serving as a look into the life of the officer as he tweeted about sports, his fellow officers, food, and fun with friends.
While his meeting with Cuba Gooding Jr. didn’t make it into the actor’s Twitter timeline, that account had only been around for fifteen days. The People v. O.J. Simpson star only became active on the service on February 10, just eight days after the premiere of the series.
His encounter with Zamarripa happened while the policeman was on patrol in Dallas, according to TMZ. The encounter you see in the video came when the actor was leaving Firefly in Studio City.
“Cuba has always been kind to cops,” the publication said, pointing to photos of Gooding “joking around” with NYC officers several months ago.
He hasn’t tweeted since July 4, when he posed for a photo with one of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Cuba Gooding Jr. played Billy Roberts in The Tuskegee Airmen, a TV movie from 1995 that he starred in alongside Laurence Fishburne, who played his father in Boyz n the Hood several years prior. The Tuskegee Airmen was the movie Gooding was in directly before Jerry Maguire. It told the true story of a group of black pilots who faced racial opposition during World War II.
The history of the group is clearly something Cuba Gooding Jr. has great interest in as he also tweeted this back in March.
New York Daily News reports that “Zamarripa’s chance celebrity encounter was at least the second to emerge from Thursday’s tragedy.”
The publication points out that a Facebook photo of shooter Micah Johnson meeting Professor Griff from rap group Public Enemy recently emerged, though Griff claimed to have no association with him.
It’s unclear what’s next for Cuba Gooding Jr. though he was recently spotted filming something alongside Sarah Paulson, his American Crime Story co-star, according to UInterview.
[Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images]