NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A search for the man accused of fatally shooting a Nassau County deputy came to an end Tuesday afternoon, with an arrest.
Deputy Joshua Moyers was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Friday. The man accused of fatally shooting him, Patrick McDowell, surrendered and was booked into the jail.
Sheriff Bill Leeper said Deputy Moyers was shot twice -- once in the face and once in the back during a traffic stop.
Leeper said as Moyers asked McDowell to get out of the car, a handgun appeared.
“The driver’s arm came out of the vehicle with a handgun, shot the deputy one time,” Leeper explained. “As the deputy fell down, he reached out and shot him in the back.”
A search began for McDowell, who was considered armed and dangerous. Moyers was hospitalized.
“It’s very critical. We’re not sure if he’s going to make it or not,” Leeper said, asking for prayers.
Law enforcement members from around Northeast Florida continued their search for McDowell, and it’s revealed that he is a former marine.
McDowell was believed to have fled to a wooded area.
Meantime, Moyers was fighting for his life in a hospital.
During a news conference, Leeper said Moyers was “not going to survive” his injuries. He commended the medical personnel at UF Health Jacksonville, saying they did everything possible to save Moyers.
“They’re some of the best of the best, and there was just nothing they could do for Josh,” Leeper said.
He said the family, including Moyers’ fiancée, had decided to donate his organs and that he was being kept alive until matches could be found.
More law enforcement personnel were added to the search. In the afternoon, it was announced that Moyers died from his injuries.
“Please keep Josh’s family and fiancée in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this terrible tragedy,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper wrote in a news release.
A reward for information leading to McDowell’s arrest was created between the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Sheriff’s Association, Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida and other donors.
Hundreds of officers and deputies combed through wooded areas of Nassau County in the search for McDowell. A reward being offered for information leading to his arrest was increased to $54,000.
“We’ll continue to look as much as we can, as long as we can until we exhaust all our resources,” Leeper said Monday afternoon. “Everybody’s tired. Everybody needs rest. We’re not going to rest till this individual is found.”
A second procession carried Moyers from the medical examiner’s office in Jacksonville to a funeral home in Nassau County. The route was approximately 50 miles.
Hundreds of people lined the streets along the route that stretched from Duval to Nassau County.
“Deputy Moyers was such a big part of this community and he had such an impact on our community and you can see that. You can see the love,” said Darron Ayscue, Fire Union president.
McDowell’s father, Richard, issued a statement saying he would like to “express my deepest regrets to the family and friends of Deputy Joshua Moyers.”
Patrick McDowell was taken into custody. Sources said after a chase, Patrick McDowell was cornered in a bathroom at the Kirsten Higginbotham Sports Complex. He eventually came out and surrendered.
“We got our man. It’s a great day in Nassau County,” Leeper said.
Moyers’ handcuffs were used to arrest McDowell, Leeper noted.
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.