CALLAHAN, Fla. – A gun was found during a search for any additional evidence in the investigation into the killing of Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said Thursday.
Leeper said in a statement that it was not immediately known whether the weapon is related to the case, and it will be examined at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab to determine whether it is.
“They’re going to send that gun to the lab and have it examined with forensics to see if it’s related to this particular crime to see if it’s linked to this particular individual or if it’s linked to anyone else,” explained News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.
Leeper said that they will continue to investigate and search for any evidence that may be related to the death of Moyers, who was shot during a traffic stop Friday morning and died Sunday.
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The sheriff said the gun was located Wednesday when law enforcement officers from several agencies were searching for any additional evidence in a wooded area near where Moyers’ accused killer, Patrick McDowell, was taken into custody Tuesday at a sports complex west of Callahan following a dayslong manhunt that began after the shooting Friday.
According to Leeper, a SWAT team and K-9s tracked down McDowell on Tuesday, surrounding the concession stand and bathroom area at the Kirsten Higginbotham Sports Complex off Ball Park Road, and McDowell eventually came out of the bathroom and surrendered.
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“We all applaud the fact that a suspect is in custody, but from a judicial standpoint, they have to cover every single base,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said they’ll look for any and all evidence, including weapons.
The gun found Wednesday was the second found in the investigation. Leeper previously said a rifle used by McDowell when he fired at a K-9 was recovered last weekend.
Wednesday’s search came a day after McDowell’s capture, as well as the arrest of a Jacksonville woman accused of trying to help him escape capture.
Breiana Tole is accused of driving to the sports complex in an attempt to help McDowell get out of the area and escape arrest after he reached out to her on Facebook to ask for assistance, according to an arrest report.
On Thursday, Tole got a new court-appointed attorney different from McDowell’s.
“Because the original defendant is represented by the public defender’s office, the office of conflict counsel will represent her and handle her case, especially because she may end up testifying against the defendant in this case,” Jefferson said.
As of Thursday, McDowell remained in a hospital with gunshot wounds and dog bites.