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Cop-Killer Suspect Dontae Morris Surrenders After 30 Hours of Negotiation, Say Tampa Police

Dontae Rashawn Morris
Dontae Rashawn Morris, in a 2003 booking photo. (AP Photo/Hillsborough County Jail, Ho)

TAMPA, Fla. (CBS/AP) The suspect accused of killing two Tampa police officers surrendered to authorities late Friday night after detectives spent more than 30 hours negotiating with his associate.

Saturday a judge denied bail to Dontae Rashawn Morris at his first court appearance on two counts of first-degree murder in the June 29 shooting deaths of officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis.

An extensive manhunt ensued after the deaths of Curtis and Kocab. Armed officers scoured apartment complexes, vacant homes, water run-offs, and received more than 400 tips, but the manhunt ceased when the 24-year-old Morris surrendered at a police station.

Hundreds of supporters attended a funeral for Curtis and Kocab Saturday morning at the Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla. 

Tampa police officer Dave Michelson remembered Curtis as a man who was loving and devoted to both his family and his duty in uniform.

"When Dave wasn't working, he was racing home to be with his family," Michelson said. "To him, being a police officer was personal. It wasn't a job--it was a calling."

The shootings Tuesday occurred at approximately 2:15 a.m. after Curtis and Kocab pulled over Morris and a woman identified as Cortnee Nicole Brantly in a red Toyota Camry because it did not have a visible license plate. Morris had outstanding warrants for writing bad checks.

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

Brantly, the driver of the car, fled the scene but was captured. She was charged with a federal count of witnessing a felony and neglecting to report it.

At Saturday's hearing, Assistant Public Defender Charles Traina said his office has a conflict of interest in representing Morris because it also represents Brantly. Morris will be appointed another attorney.

Morris is also suspected in two other killings.

On Saturday Morris incurred an additional murder charge for allegedly shooting and killing a man outside his family's Tampa apartment May 18. According to Public Information Officer Laura McElroy, ballistic tests implied that Morris used the same weapon in the police shootings.

Morris also remains a suspect in the June 8 death of a father of four who was found severely injured on a roadside. He died on the way to the hospital.

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