HOUSTON – The man accused of leading a Bellaire police officer on a fatal chase was charged with murder Thursday. Dante Moore was absent when prosecutors laid out their case against him during a probable cause hearing.
Sheriff's officials said Moore was undergoing a medical evaluation at the Harris County Jail.
Prosecutors told a judge Moore admitted to being the driver of the car that Bellaire police officer Marco Zarate was chasing on Tuesday. Police said Moore's twin brother was a passenger in the car.
Zarate stopped their car because the pair was suspected of shoplifting from a Target in Meyerland Plaza.
"He stated that he was traveling at speeds close to 80 miles an hour through the residential neighborhood," a prosecutor told the judge.
Prosecutors said during the chase, Zarate lost control of his motorcycle and hit a landscaping trailer.
Moore, 27, turned himself in to police shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, shirtless and with his hands in the air, after being identified as a person of interest in Zarate's death.
Community activist Quanell X said Moore was worried about his safety coming to police because of the recent police brutality cases.
"He said to me he wanted to turn himself in. He wanted to get this over with and put this behind him," said Quanell X. "This is a very volatile situation and time for all of us. The community, as well as law enforcement, and I wanted to make sure no body got hurt."
The police chief said the other person of interest is Moore's twin brother, but he is not yet in custody.
"The fact that he (Dante) is cooperating. I don't know what that'll mean to any future prosecution. What it means to me is that he wants to resolve the issue and he is trying to do what he sees is the right thing," said Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway.
"He's concerned. He's nervous. He understands the seriousness and the magnitude of the case," said Quanell X.
The activist told KPRC 2 he is in contact with Moore's brother and is trying to convince him to surrender.
Prosecutors aren't yet sure what charges the brother may face, since he was not the driver.
Before being charged with murder, Moore had a lengthy criminal record. State records show he was released from prison in February after being convicted of fleeing from Houston police in 2013.
Police said, in that case, a security guard spotted Moore trying to break into cars and when they tried to arrest him, he took off. Police found his car a shot time later at a nearby apartment complex and arrested Moore after a foot chase.
Harris County court records show prior to that case, Moore was convicted in 2011 for possession of cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. Moore was also convicted in 2007 of burglarizing a home and car.
A judge ordered Moore to be held without bond.
Person of interest in connection to the death of Bellaire police officer turns himself in. DETAILS-->http://bit.ly/29xFMrmPosted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Wednesday, July 13, 2016