BELLAIRE, Texas (FOX 26)
Tuesday's tragedy began less than a mile from where Bellaire police officer Anthony Marco Zarate crashed his motorcycle.
He had been in the parking lot of the Target store at Meyerland Plaza.
"There was a shoplifting incident that occurred, said HPD spokesman Victor Senties. "Loss prevention flagged down the Bellaire police officer who had just completed another traffic stop."
That Target loss prevention employee told officer Zarate two men had used box cutters to cut anti-theft devices from merchandise and had gotten into a car.
Zarate spotted that car police say and pulled the pair over.
"He turned his head to communicate back to the dispatch that he had the vehicle stopped and the vehicle took off," Senties said.
Police say Zarate chased the pair on his motorcycle through a nearby neighborhood where he ran into the back of a lawn maintenance trailer.
"For whatever reason he lost control and struck the rear of that trailer," Senties said.
"I happened to come up on the scene where it looked like the officer hit the back of a truck or something," said witness Jim Hudek.
"Flashing lights heard police cars driving by and there was just a rush of medical personnel and police," said Michael Bowlin.
The owners of the lawn maintenance trailer were working in Bowlin's yard when the officer crashed his motorcycle.
"Shocking especially for the people out here who saw it they were pretty shaken up afterwards," Bowlin said.
"It seems like crime seems to head this direction so everybody is wrestling with it."
Tuesday night authorities released the picture of a man that was taken just before officer Zarate's deadly crash.
They are calling that man a person of interest.
The Houston Police Officers Union posted the following statement on Twitter on Tuesday:
Prayers for the @bellairepd as they have lost one of their own in the line of duty. RIP brother we have the next shift.
The 100 Club released the following statement on Tuesday:
The 100 Club, a 63 year old Houston based non-profit organization, which supports the dependents of Firefighters and Law Enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, announces its assistance for the dependent family of the Bellaire Police Department Motorcycle Officer who was killed in the line of duty this afternoon after his police motorcycle was hit by a motor vehicle.
A $20,000 check will be given to the Officer's wife to help with any immediate financial needs. Additional financial support for the children will be made after an assessment of their needs is conducted. The average gift from the 100 Club to a dependent family is approximately $300,000.
Donations are being accepted to "The 100 Club Survivors Fund", that provides benefits to the dependents of Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers who lose their life in the line of duty.
Contributions are being accepted at:
100 Club Survivors Fund
5555 San Felipe Street Suite 1750
Houston TX 77056-5527
and at The 100 Club website: www.the100club.org.
100% of "Survivors Fund" donations goes to the dependents of firefighters and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
The 100 Club began in 1953 when a handful of citizens banded together to provide financial support to the dependents of Houston Police Officers killed in the line of duty. Today, The 100 Club's 31,701 members, located in thirty one (31) counties in southeast Texas, continue to band together for the purpose of aiding dependents of these public safety officers and responding to their needs. We invite the community to participate.