FORT WAYNE, In. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- An Angola man accused of murdering another Angola man appeared in a Steuben County courtroom via videoconference Tuesday morning.
Zao Burrell, 24, had his initial hearing and is charged with murder in the shooting death of 40-year-old Brent Dombroski.
It was announced just after 3 p.m. Monday that Burrell had been charged with Dombroski’s murder and that police were continuing to search for the then fugitive. Within an hour of the announced charges, Burrell led police on a short chase in Fort Wayne and was apprehended shortly after 4 p.m.
The driver of the car, Danika M. Smith, 21, of Fort Wayne, was arrested Tuesday for her role in the attempted getaway. She is charged with resisting law enforcement and driving while suspended.
Smith is out of the Allen County Jail on $2,500 bond.
Indiana State Police confirm wanted murder suspect Zao Burrell was captured Monday afternoon in the parking lot of the Scott's Food & Pharmacy, 4120 N. Clinton St.
Police say Indiana State Police received a tip that a man matching Burrell’s description was staying in a home in the 600 block of Ridgewood Drive in Fort Wayne. That tip was communicated to the Allen County Sheriff's Department. County police, FWPD and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force located Burrell in a vehicle with two others and attempted to pull him over. Police say Burrell drove off and led police on a short car chase. During the chase, a gun was thrown out the window and onto the street. Police confiscated the weapon. Police managed to stop the car in the Scott’s parking lot and Burrell was immediately arrested. He is currently being held in the Allen County jail and will be transported back to Steuben County into police custody.
“The important thing for us right now and the people, especially in Angola who are kind of walking on egg shells right now, is that an alleged killer is behind bars and will be soon taken back to that jurisdiction to face a charge of murder,” said Sgt. Ron Galaviz with Indiana State Police.
Earlier Monday, the Steuben County Sheriff's Department held a press conference at 3 p.m. to announce that Burrell had been charged with murder. According to the probable cause report obtained by Indiana's NewsCenter, 40-year-old Brent Dombroski was shot in the chest during a drug deal involving meth. According to the report, Burrell called Dombroski a "snitch" before shooting him.
Two other people were with Burrell during the time of the shooting. His father, Dan Burrell, and Mike Forrester are being held in a jail in Williams County, Ohio. It is possible they could face charges in Indiana according to the Steuben County Sheriff.
Burrell was sought in the shooting of Brent Dombroski, 40, of Angola, Ind. At a Sunday afternoon press conference, law enforcement officials of Indiana and Ohio say they are searching for Burrell in connection with the shooting death around 4:00 Sunday morning.
Police say Dombroski died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His body has been transported to Fort Wayne for an autopsy.
Witnesses at the hospital with Dombroski told a Steuben County deputy, who was there on unrelated matters, what happened. They tipped officers to a home at 2980 N. CR 300 E., which deputies linked to Burrell.
Steuben County police went by the home and recognized a car they associated with Burrell. Burrell and two other men were spotted inside a white 4-door passenger car. When they confronted the men, police say a chase ensued. The chase began in Steuben County and ended in Williams County, Ohio. During the chase, police say one of the men in the car shot at police multiple times.
The chase ended with the other two men being caught by police, while Burrell fled into the woods. Police also have the get-away car their custody. Burrell is still at-large and, officers say he is armed and dangerous.
“We continue to search the area that we have that we knew he was in last so that we could work that area with search planes, helicopters, we've got several K-9 units, we've got five or six different tactical teams here, and we'll continue to work that grid pattern to work that area,” said Sheriff Kevin Beck of Williams County, Ohio.
Sheriff Tim Troyer, Steuben County, says his deputies are familiar with Burrell, and it’s not his first run-in with the law. Due to his record, Sheriff Troyer says he has reason to believe he could be linked to the shooting.
“Through a couple different means: observations by the deputies involved, being familiar with him. I mean, he's been known to us in our county, of course, as well as the investigation. I've got a team of detectives in Angola that are working with Indiana State Police and piecing the homicide together, and it's tying Mr. Burrell back to these people being together,” Sheriff Troyer said.
Last June, Burrell was wanted as a felon for possession of a firearm, and again in October for charges of running a meth lab out of his home and damaging property.
The names and charges against the other two men have not been released.
Multiple police agencies are scouring an approximate three-mile radius along the Indiana-Ohio state line. A portion of Ohio US 20 in Williams County has been shut down. Police say US 20, CR 3 and CR 0.50 will be blocked off until the search is over. For now the search is on-going, and police say they’re unsure when the search will end.
Detectives believe Burrell is back in Steuben County.
Burrell is described as having several tattoos on his body, including the word “MOB” on his neck. He also has two piercings through his bottom lip. People are urged to call police if they see Burrell or know anything about his whereabouts.
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