Two cops shot dead after routine traffic stop

Police were searching Tuesday for a convict charged with fatally shooting two Tampa police officers during an early morning traffic stop of a car that didn’t have a visible license plate.

Law enforcement officials gather near the location where two Tampa

Law enforcement officials gather near the location where two Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. — Police were searching Tuesday for a convict charged with fatally shooting two Tampa police officers during an early morning traffic stop of a car that didn’t have a visible license plate.

Officer David Curtis pulled over the red Toyota Camry around 2:15 a.m. and called for backup after a background check revealed the male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanour charge for writing a worthless check in Jacksonville.

The two officers approached the passenger side of the vehicle and six minutes later a witness called 911 to report they had been shot.

Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab, both 31, were pronounced dead at the hospital.

“Horrible,” said Tampa Police Officer Jeremy Larson, a friend of Curtis and one of the first on the scene Tuesday morning. “The crime scene was horrible.”

The woman who police believe was driving the car, 22-year-old Cortnee Nicole Brantly, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon for questioning, but she was not arrested.

Another individual, Dontae Rashawn Morris, 24, was still being sought by police, but was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a single count of felony possession of a firearm.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said “we know who he is and we’re going to find him.”

Morris was released from prison in April after serving two years for cocaine possession and sales. He also served about nine months on other cocaine possession charges in 2004, according to prison records.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that in 2006, Morris was found not guilty of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, attempted robbery and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Pam Iorio announced Kocab’s death at a news conference at the hospital where the officers were taken. Dozens of sombre officers filled the hospital.

Kocab had been on the force for 14 months. His wife is nine months pregnant with their first child, police said.

Before joining the Tampa Police, Kocab was an officer with the Plant City Police Department in rural Hillsbourough County; he received that department’s officer of the year award in 2007.

“He loved his job,” Tampa officer Whitney McCormick said. “He was one of the best.”

Curtis, a father of four boys, had nearly four years with the department, including a rotation on an elite vice unit. He remained on life support as doctors prepared to harvest his organs at the family’s request.

“He loved his wife and children with everything he had,” said Tampa officer Larson, choking up during a news conference. “If you could imagine the perfect family, that would be Dave’s family.”

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said: “It’s just been heart wrenching as the family members have said goodbye to their loved ones and then it’s been heart wrenching to see the officers and how much they respect them.”

This is the department’s third fatal shooting in less than a year; 10 months ago, Cpl. Mike Roberts was shot and killed on duty.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man rides his bicycle past fields covered with volcanic ash a day after the La Soufriere volcano erupted, in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Saturday, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Lucanus Ollivierre)
‘Huge’ explosion rocks St. Vincent as volcano keeps erupting

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — La Soufriere volcano fired an enormous amount of… Continue reading

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
Canada set to receive 1M Pfizer-BioNTech doses, Moderna playing catch-up

OTTAWA — The federal government is expecting Moderna to make good on… Continue reading

This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Iran's Natanz nuclear site suffered a problem Sunday, April 11, involving its electrical distribution grid just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich uranium, state TV reported. It was the latest incident to strike one of Tehran's most-secured sites amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)
Iran blames Israel for sabotage at Natanz nuclear site

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran blamed Israel on Monday for a… Continue reading

Map of Syria. Turkey is to the north. (File photo)
Investigation finds Syria likely behind 2018 chlorine attack

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An investigation by the global chemical weapons watchdog… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

Ron Howard is photographed at the "Inferno" film premiere on Oct. 25, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Brothers Ron and Clint Howard have memoir coming in October

NEW YORK — Filmmaker-actor Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, brothers, former… Continue reading

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins… Continue reading

The Huawei logo displayed at the main office of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Poland’s Internal Security Agency has charged a Chinese manager at Huawei in Poland and one of its own former officers with espionage against Poland on behalf of China. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Huawei, HSBC agree on document deal for extradition case

HONG KONG — Chinese telecommunications equipment firm Huawei said Monday that it… Continue reading

The Montreal Police logo is seen on a police car in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

MONTREAL — Hundreds of protestors gathered in Montreal on Sunday in defiance… Continue reading

Security and police block the entrance to GraceLife Church as a fence goes up around it near Edmonton on Wednesday April 7, 2021. The Alberta government has closed down and fenced off a church that has been charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules. Alberta Health Services, in a statement, says GraceLife church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public-health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta… Continue reading

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is developing contingency plans to keep COVID-19 from affecting its ability to defend the country and continue its missions overseas amid concerns potential adversaries could try to take advantage of the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian special forces supported major Iraqi military assault on ISIL last month

OTTAWA — Some Canadian soldiers supported a major military offensive last month… Continue reading

A woman pays her repects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The joint public inquiry in response to the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced a mandate that includes a probe of the RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence in the tragedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Creating permanent memorial to Nova Scotia mass shooting victims a delicate task

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. — Creating a memorial for those killed in Nova Scotia’s… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Most Read