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Man accused of killing Nassau County deputy arrested near Callahan after 5-day search

“We got our man,” said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.

The accused killer of a Nassau County deputy was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon following a flurry of law enforcement activity near a sports complex west of Callahan.

CALLAHAN, Fla. – The accused killer of a Nassau County deputy was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon following a flurry of law enforcement activity near a sports complex west of Callahan.

The arrest of Patrick McDowell, 35, came after law enforcement officers followed leads and tracked down vehicles believed to contain the man accused of killing Deputy Joshua Moyers on Friday during a traffic stop. Moyers died of his injuries on Sunday.

According to News4Jax sources, after a chase, McDowell was cornered in a bathroom building at the Kirsten Higginbotham Sports Complex off Ball Park Road. He eventually came out of the bathroom and surrendered.

“We got our man. It’s a great day in Nassau County,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

Moyers’ handcuffs were used to arrest McDowell, Leeper noted.

When he didn’t listen to all the commands given by officers at the scene, a K-9 was sent in to get him to comply before he was arrested, Leeper said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

McDowell was treated for a dog bite wound and then transported to UF Health Jacksonville in a Nassau County rescue accompanied by several deputies in cruisers.

Leeper said McDowell was also suffering from two gunshot wounds following an exchange of gunfire with deputies while he was on the run. McDowell shot a K-9 with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office during the exchange, Leeper said.

“So he was injured. He had a bad wound. He was trying to reach out to people to get help. He knew if he went to the hospital we would find him,” Leeper said.

Accused killer of a Nassau County Deputy was arrested after law enforcement cornered him in a bathroom building at the Kristen Higgenbotham Sports Complex. Patrick McDowell was was arrested after a five-day manhunt.

No weapon was found on McDowell at the time of his arrest, sources said. The Sheriff’s Office said McDowell did apologize to one of the SWAT officers during his arrest.

Leeper said the Sheriff’s Office is in the process of making other arrests of people who may have been helping McDowell hide from law enforcement.

“We’ve got one at least in custody. There may be some more. We don’t know yet but we’ll continue to investigate,” he added.

The search intensified around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning when News4Jax crews were told to leave the search command post at Callahan First Baptist and move to a new location. It was not immediately clear why.

As News4Jax crews were moving, we learned that law enforcement had targeted three vehicles in the area that McDowell was thought to be riding in, according to sources.

Shortly after that, sources told News4Jax there was a large police presence at a sports complex off River Road just west of downtown that included helicopters and multiple law enforcement vehicles. River Road was then closed to traffic at Bypass Road.

Patrick McDowell was captured just over 2 miles from where Deputy Josh Moyers will killed.

After his arrest, McDowell’s father Richard issued a statement to News4Jax.

“I would like to say that I’m glad no one else got hurt and I hope that it will help Deputy Moyers’ family knowing he’s not still at large,” Richard McDowell said.

RELATED | ‘My deepest regrets’: Father of man accused of shooting Nassau County deputy issues statement

More than 200 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers had focused their search efforts on a 5-square-mile perimeter southwest of Callahan while a statewide Blue Alert was out for McDowell.

There was a $54,000 reward for information leading to McDowell’s arrest, but that reward will not be paid out to anyone, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“I wish he would have gave us an opportunity to shoot him, but he didn’t,” Leeper said. “He crawled out like a coward and he’s in custody. He’s gonna pay for what he did to deputy Moyers.”

Following McDowell’s arrest, the Sheriff’s Office said schools will return to normal operations.


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I-TEAM and general assignment reporter

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.