A Fort Lauderdale detention officer behind bars on a murder charge is accused of killing his girlfriend, who had told police weeks earlier that he had threatened to kill her, a report released Thursday reveals.
Chase Harder, 21, was charged Tuesday with one count of first-degree murder and one count of written threats to kill or injure. The tumultuous night at the MAA Coral Springs apartments started around 8:30 p.m. with multiple 911 calls about shots fired in the 9200 block of Ramblewood Drive.
According to the report, a neighbor told police he heard a single gunshot — and a child scream — before three additional shots rang out. The neighbor, shortly after, saw a man dashing toward a white Mercedes SUV with a child draped over his shoulder.
Officers who responded to the complex noticed blood dripping down from a balcony. When they entered the apartment, they found spent shell casings and a woman with multiple gunshot wounds on the ground. She was dead.
Around 11 p.m., a man called police to request a welfare check after Harder showed up at his Rivera Beach home with his child, whom he had with Harder’s girlfriend— and scratches on his body.
He also provided a license plate number for the Mercedes that Harder was driving, police say. It was registered to Harder’s stepmother.
Under the impression that he had a warrant out for his arrest, Harder called police to turn himself in, according to the report. He told detectives that he had argued with his girlfriend that night. The detectives also noted that he had scratches and blood spatter all over his arms and legs.
The report also states that police discovered that Harder’s girlfriend had contacted the authorities on July 30 and said that Harder had been threatening to kill her via text messages.
Family identified the victim as Dayanna Hurtado in a GoFundMe page on Wednesday. Hurtado’s uncle Edgard Rojas Cruzado started a GoFundMe to raise $8,000 to cremate Hurtado and send her ashes to Peru, her homeland.
Rojas Cruzado also said the family wants to gather funds to support Hurtado’s daughter, who witnessed the tragedy.
“The daughter is only 3 years old and has no insurance, doesn’t go to school, and is confused about the situation,“ Rojas Cruzado said in the GoFundMe. “We need your help in these grieving times.”
Harder, a detention officer with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and former MP with the Army reserve, has been placed on administrative leave without pay as the investigation continues.
A December Facebook post to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department official account lauds Harder for being the department’s first graduate in almost 20 years from Broward College/Institute of Public Safety’s Basic Corrections Academy and for receiving an Academic Excellence Achievement Award.
“The details surrounding these allegations are very difficult to hear and do not reflect the character and professionalism expected of the men and women of our agency,” Fort Lauderdale police Detective Ali Adamson said in an email. “We extend our deepest condolences to those affected by this horrific incident.”
Miami Herald staff writer David J. Neal contributed to this report.