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Weapons expert who trained Nassau deputy shooting suspect says he’s a survivalist, dangerous

We hear from a weapons instructor who says he trained Patrick McDowell. He says he's shocked at what he's charged with.
We hear from a weapons instructor who says he trained Patrick McDowell. He says he's shocked at what he's charged with.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A weapons instructor who said he trained Patrick McDowell said he is dangerous, knows how to use a gun and can survive in the wild on his own.

Weapons instructor Del Angelo told News4Jax he trained McDowell years ago while he was a security guard.

Now, McDowell is on the run after being accused of shooting Nassau County Sheriff’s Office deputy Joshua Moyers during a traffic stop on Friday morning.

“I’m really shocked and surprised about the events that have unfolded here,” Angelo said.

MORE | Reward for man accused of shooting Nassau County deputy increases to $35K as search enters Day 3

McDowell is believed to be hiding in Callahan in a large wooded area.

Angelo said he trained McDowell about a decade ago.

“He was a student of mine. He worked for a security company. I did his training and then his annual recertification for about three years. That was about 10 or 12 years ago,” he said.

RELATED | Suspect’s military background playing into Nassau County manhunt

McDowell has served in the Marines, according to records. A photo of McDowell released Sunday by the Sheriff’s Office shows the Marine motto tattooed on his body.

“I know he was military trained, and he was a very good student, very professional. I didn’t know anything negative about him,” Angelo said. “We just trained him basically for security response and how to use a handgun for self-defense or for protecting an area and he was very accomplished in his use of a handgun.”

With his military background, Angelo said he thinks McDowell can survive on his own in the woods.

“He’s very much a survivalist and he’s been military trained on survival and weapons use. So he’s very accomplished at survival and being unrecognized,” he said. “He can’t change his appearance but he can sure hide well and know how to stay out of people’s line of sight.”

Angelo said he hopes McDowell is found soon without anyone else getting hurt.


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Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.