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At-large suspect in cop killings has prison past

Image: Dontae Morris
Police have launched a statewide manhunt for Dontae Rashawn Morris, 24.Tampa Police Department via AP
/ Source: staff and news service reports

A man wanted in connection with the slayings of two Tampa police officers has a history of arrests dating back to at least 2003, records show.

Dontae Rashawn Morris, 24, has been charged with writing bad checks, possession of cocaine and attempted murder.

Tampa Police say Morris shot and killed two officers after a traffic stop early Tuesday morning.

Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab, both 31, were shot at close range after Curtis pulled Morris over because the car he was riding in did not have a visible license plate. Morris had outstanding warrants for writing bad checks at a grocery store in Jacksonville, officials said.

Police have launched a statewide manhunt for Morris. NBC station WFLA reported Wednesday that a $95,000 reward had been offered for information leading to Morris' arrest and conviction.

"We're in touch with his family, his associates, his girlfriends, anybody who could've possibly known him trying to tighten up the perimeter to the point that we're able to place him under arrest," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor told WFLA.

The driver of the car, Cortnee Nicole Brantly, fled the scene but was captured. She was later released from custody.

Castor said Brantly may be charged later.

Cocaine convictions
Records show Morris served time in state prison on cocaine charges on two separate occasions; a two-year sentence, which ended in April, and a nine-month stint from 2004 to 2005.

Prison records show Morris was released in January of 2005. In October of that year, he was arrested and charged with attempted murder — but he was acquitted of the crime.

Meanwhile, Morris's family asked that he be allowed to turn himself in safely. A pastor for Morris' family said they do not condone his actions.