Hundreds gather to donate blood for ambushed agent

Deputies say federal agent targeted by gunman outside Publix

By Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter, David Benfield - Web producer

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - While a federal agent continues the fight for his life Thursday from his hospital bed at Orange Park Medical Center, nearly a hundred people were right outside in the parking donating blood in his honor.

The agent, whose identity has not been released, was shot multiple times in the abdomen Tuesday while carrying groceries from the Oakleaf neighborhood Publix. 

Deputies said the agent was targeted for wearing his law enforcement gear by an 18-year-old gunman who later killed himself.

Over two days, two bloodmobiles packed in more than 200 donors, all heeding the call to give.

News4Jax reporter Lynnsey Gardner spoke with the agent's close friends who stopped by to donate and said they were taken aback by the support.

The two friends also work with the agent, so the idea that he was targeted for his job, hits home especially hard. 

Supervisor for the targeted agent, Steve Woods, choked back tears as he spoke to Gardner. Both men work as Custom and Border Protection Air and Marine agents.

“Our friend, he needed a lot of blood and any blood people can give is a huge deal. It's a gift of life,” Woods said. 

Orie Doffin just like his friend, the targeted agent, is a pilot for the federal agency. He too choked back tears as he spoke about his comrade.

“Horrible situations like this bring out the best in a lot of people, and we're seeing that,” Doffin said. 

Marty Kipp works for the Transportation Security Administration and represents one of several law enforcement agencies spotted rolling up their sleeves.

“It’s a brother in arms, so as soon as I saw it on the news, I wanted to come out,” Kipp said. 

Doffin said the gift of life for his friend that so many people came together to offer won't soon be forgotten.

“It's important to do it for people you love and care about, but it's a much greater sacrifice for people to do it for strangers,” Doffin said. 

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