HOUSTON – The community will gather Monday afternoon to say goodbye to a Bellaire police officer who was killed in the line of duty. Officer Marco Zarate died during a chase last week. Friends, family members and fellow officers are preparing to honor his memory.
If you drive by the Bellaire Police Department, it's hard to miss the memorial out front as the community prepares to say goodbye one last time.
"He was always trying to lend a helping hand and say hey good morning. He'd always go that extra step. He was genuinely a wonderful man," Evelyn Sotelo said.
One officer said the 7-year veteran of the force was one of the good ones. Another remembered his unforgettable big smile.
"We know what we do is inherently dangerous and we realize there's a chance we may not make it home. It was just devastating to lose someone that you know personally. It's beyond word sand beyond belied," Harry Zamora, Waller County Sheriff Deputy said.
RIGHT NOW: dozens of officers & deputies wait to escort fallen officer Marco Zarate during funeral services downtown pic.twitter.com/yzKBKpx4xn— KPRC2Jonathan (@KPRC2Jonathan) July 18, 2016
The 52-year-old motorcycle officer pulled over two shoplifting suspects Tuesday afternoon in Meyerland Plaza. The pair took off, and led him on a chase, authorities said. Zarate lost control in the pursuit and crashed into a parked trailer. He later died.
The driver, Dante Moore, turned himself in Wednesday. He is charged with murder.
Zarate's funeral will be held Monday afternoon at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston.
Zarate leaves behind a wife and three daughters.