Customs agent ambushed outside Oakleaf Publix returns to flight

Drew Stokes was shot while carrying groceries to his car

Deputy Jacob Hawkings (far left), Agent Drew Stokes (third from right) (Clay County Sheriff's Office)

OAKLEAF, Fla. – The customs agent who was ambushed by a gunman in the parking lot of a Publix shopping center in Oakleaf returned to flight, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Photos from the Sheriff's Office show Agent Drew Stokes during his first day back to work alongside Deputy Jacob Hawkings, who ran to Stokes' aid during the shooting in September 2017. Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels was also there for the agent's first day back.

Agent Drew Stokes (left), Deputy Jacob Hawkings (right)

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Stokes is a pilot for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations agency. He was walking out of the store with a bag of groceries when the 18-year-old gunman shot Stokes from behind. 

After the shooter fired at the agent, he continued driving down the parking lane and appeared to succumb to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, causing his car to then hit several vehicles in the parking lot, investigators said.

Stokes underwent surgery for his injuries, which were described as serious, as has since recovered.

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