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‘This Guy Is Dangerous’: Sheriff’s Office Says Marine Veteran Who Fatally Shot Florida Deputy During Traffic Stop Is on the Run

Patrick McDowell booking photo

Patrick McDowell

A man who fatally shot a deputy during a recent traffic stop is now on the run, Florida deputies say.

The suspect, identified as 35-year-old Patrick McDowell, is considered dangerous. He was reportedly a U.S. Marine and used to work as a security guard. The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office announced that Deputy Josh Moyers, 29, died Sunday afternoon.

“It is with great sadness that I announce Deputy Josh Moyers has passed away this afternoon, September 26, 2021 at 2:19 PM at UF health in Jacksonville,” Sheriff Bill Leeper said in a tweet. “Please keep Josh’s family and fiancé in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this terrible tragedy.”

Leeper said Moyers pulled over a minivan early Friday morning on U.S. 301, according to WJXT. McDowell was the driver, and a woman was in the passenger seat, Leeper said. The suspect gave Moyers a false name, but the deputy learned he did not have a driver’s license and the vehicle tag belonged to a different vehicle, said the sheriff.

Leeper said there was dashcam footage showing Moyers going to open the driver’s side door to get McDowell out of the vehicle, but McDowell pulled out a gun and shot the deputy in the face. McDowell shot Moyers in the back while he was on the ground, then sped through a nearby railroad crossing before the arms were about to go down for a passing train, Leeper said. Moyers had called a backup deputy, who arrived to find him 30 seconds later. Investigators determined the van was stolen from Jacksonville.

Moyers’ prognosis was soon hopeless. Leeper said Saturday that doctors did everything they could to save him. The victim’s family decided to donate his organs, and he was to be kept alive until doctors found matches.

Deputy Josh Moyers

Deputy Josh Moyers

Nassau County deputies mourn the fallen Moyers.

A GoFundMe campaign to support Moyers’ fiancée raised $28,712 of a $25,000 goal as of Monday morning.

McDowell served in the Marines from 2005 and 2009, according to a WJXX/WTLV. He was a field radio operator and was deployed twice to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Deputies said he participated in shooting competitions in 2014, and had a criminal history including giving a false name to law enforcement, aggravated possession of stolen firearms, possession of cocaine, and burglary. He has been subject to the state mental health law the Baker Act, and lives with depression, seizures, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Weapons instructor Del Angelo, who told WJXT he trained McDowell for security guard work, voiced shock at the shooting.

“He was a student of mine,” he said. “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.”

Angelo described McDowell as proficient with handguns.

“I know he was military trained, and he was a very good student, very professional,” he said. “I didn’t know anything negative about him. 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.”

Authorities describe McDowell as white, with brown hair and blue eyes. He stands 6’0″ and weighs 170 pounds.

He has tattoos, including the Marine motto “Semper Fidelis” (except “Fidelis” appears on top in the image), and the phrase, “Death Before Dishonor.”

“This guy is dangerous,” Leeper said, according to WJXT. “What he did to that deputy was uncalled for and unnecessary and he needs to pay for it.”

The sheriff’s office announced Monday morning that the reward was now $54,000 for information leading to McDowell’s capture.

“McDowell could still be in our area, please don’t let your guard down and call us if you see anything out of the ordinary,” they wrote. “904-225-5174.”

[Booking photo of McDowell and image of Moyers via Nassau County Sheriff’s Office]

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