Community relieved arrest made in shooting death of Nassau County deputy

Flowers decorate the hood of fallen Deputy Joshua Moyers' cruiser.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – After a five-day search covering five square miles, Patrick McDowell -- the man accused of fatally shooting a Nassau County deputy -- surrendered Tuesday near a sports complex west of Callahan.

Deputy Joshua Moyers was shot during a traffic stop Friday morning, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office said. Since then, there had been an all-out search for McDowell.

Sheriff Bill Leeper announced in a Tuesday afternoon news conference that McDowell had been arrested.

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

The handcuffs that were used to arrest him, Leeper said, were the same handcuffs that were issued to Deputy Moyers.

There was a sense of relief among residents of Nassau County on Tuesday evening. A memorial was created for Moyers -- flowers lied atop his cruiser.

“I’m just glad they caught him,” said Melissa Hatcher, who lives in Nassau County. “It brings me chills bringing it up right now.”

Hatcher lives off River Road, where a SWAT team knocked on doors last weekend amid the search for McDowell. She said she was afraid to leave her house.

“There’s a lot of woods around here and we didn’t know how far he’d be traveling,” Hatcher said.

Preston Sparks also lives off River Road. He said members of law enforcement showed up at his home last Saturday.

“Our whole road was lined up with SWAT and ARs and all branches of government looking for him,” Sparks recalled.

He said he knew Moyers.

“He was a great dude to be around,” Sparks said. “Always had a smile on his face.”

A flyer from Wildlight Elementary, in Nassau County, encouraged the school to wear the color blue on Wednesday to show support for Moyers.

Jail records show McDowell was booked into the county jail at approximately 9:10 p.m.

According to Leeper, at least one other person is facing charges for attempting to help McDowell evade law enforcement.

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.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.