HOUSTON — A Bellaire police officer died Tuesday after his motorcycle crashed while chasing suspected shoplifters, and police have released a photo of a “person of interest” wanted for questioning.
Officer Marco Zarate was alerted by employees at Target in Meyerland Plaza around 1:40 p.m. about two men who had allegedly stolen from the store.
The officer spotted the suspects and attempted to pull over their vehicle, but a chase began.
The officer chased the suspects to the 8600 block of Ferris Drive near Beechnut, where he crashed into a landscape trailer. The chase suspects did not stop. A witness captured video of the person they believe was in the car Zarate approached before the chase began. That video was handed over to authorities.
Zarate was not breathing when emergency crews arrived. He was transported to the hospital with CPR in progress, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. He was 52 years old.
Zarate had three daughters; a 25-year-old and 11-year-old twins.
Zarate, a United States Marine Corp. veteran, was with Bellaire PD since 2009. He was also nominated for Bellaire PD officer of the year in 2010.