TAMPA - A woman who was wanted for questioning in the shooting deaths of two Tampa police officers during a traffic stop was found at a Hillsborough County apartment complex Tuesday afternoon.
22-year-old Cortnee Nicole Brantley was taken into custody at the Bristol Bay City View apartment complex in the vicinity of 50th Street and Palm River Road. A red Toyota Camry that investigators believe was being driven during the crime was also recovered at the same location. Brantley was released from Tampa Police custody around 10pm on Tuesday night with no charges filed against her at this time.
A second suspect, 24-year-old Dontae Rashawn Morris, is still on the loose . Investigators believe he was the gunman and is wanted on murder charges.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor told reporters Tuesday afternoon that Morris fled on foot after the shootings. "He ran from the scene of the shooting. She drove away," said Castor.
Officer Jeffrey Kocab , 31, died around 4 a.m. at Tampa General Hospital. He leaves behind a wife, Sarah, who is 9-months pregnant.
Officer Dave Curtis , also 31, died around 8:30 a.m. after being put on life support. at Tampa General Hospital. He leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and four children.
"This is an unbelievable tragedy," said Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. "Our hearts are just breaking. It is so very tragic."
It began when Officer Curtis initiated a traffic stop near 50th Street and 23rd Avenue at 2:15 a.m. because the Camry did not have a visible license tag.
Officer Kocab joined him after it was determined that the passenger in the car had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for a worthless check out of Jacksonville. Chief Castor said as soon as they put their hands on the suspect, he spun around, pulled out a gun and shot both officers in the upper body.
Castor said both officers were wearing body armor. But based on where they were shot, the armor could not have protected them.
There were no radio transmissions after the shootings. Police say a witness called police approximately six minutes after the officers began the traffic stop.
Morris is described as being in his mid-to-late 20's black male about 5-feet 10-inches tall, weighing between 150 and 170 pounds and wearing a white shirt with black vest. He has a lengthy criminal record .
A statewide search involving mulitiple agencies is underway.
As word of the shootings spread, dozens of somber officers streamed into Tampa General.
"We're a very close family," said Chief Castor. "To have such a tragedy as this is very difficult."
In addition to his wife, Officer Curtis leaves behind four boys ages 9, 8, 5 and 8 months. Chief Castor described him as "a family man" who spent all his off-time with his children.
Curtis has been an officer with Tampa police for more than three-and-a-half years. He was a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office jail deputy before joining TPD.
Jeff Kocab was previously with the Plant City Police Department before joining TPD fourteen months ago.
Both officers were assigned to District 3 Squad's midnight shift. Chief Castor said the men, both 31-years-old, were born just a month apart.
Other local law enforcement agencies, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Temple Terrace Police Department, are aiding TPD in the search for the suspects.
"The noose is tightening," said Chief Castor. "He should give himself up."
The reward for information leading to an arrest in the shooting deaths of the two Tampa Police Officers is now at $95,000. The FBI has put up $50,000 with the U.S. Marshal's Office putting up $10,000. Another $10,000 is from the Police Defense Fund. Crime stoppers put up $5,000 with the final $10,000 put up by the FDLE.
Anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of the suspect(s) responsible for the murders of Tampa Police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab is urged to call Tampa Police at (813) 231-6130, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).
This is the Bay area's second incident of law enforcement officers being shot in less than a week. Two Polk County deputies were shot early Friday in Lakeland after stopping a man riding a bicycle. They are expected to recover.
Stay with abcactionnews.com for continuing updates on this breaking story, and for complete coverage, see the ABC Action News.com Special report: Tampa Police Tragedy .
Copyright (c) 2009 HGTV and Scripps Howard News Service
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