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Deputy Moyers’s Handcuffs Used To Arrest His Killer After 5-Day Manhunt

Callahan, FL – The convicted felon accused of fatally shooting Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Moyers in the face and back during a traffic stop on Sunday was apprehended outside a concession stand bathroom late Tuesday morning.

“He crawled out like a baby,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper told WJAX. “Like the coward that he is.”

More than 300 people had been searching for 35-year-old convicted felon Patrick McDowell since the 2 a.m. attack on the 29-year-old deputy during a traffic stop on Sept. 24, CNN reported.

The search narrowed on Monday before another tip led police to hone in on a baseball field late Tuesday morning, according to WJAX.

As deputies swarmed the area, McDowell cowered inside the concession stand bathrooms.

He eventually yelled out that he wanted to surrender, but then failed to fully cooperate with the SWAT team’s orders, WJAX reported.

A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) K9 was released to help apprehend him, leaving McDowell with bite injuries to one arm, according to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO).

He was arrested using Deputy Moyers’ handcuffs.

“I wish he would have given us the opportunity to shoot him,” Sheriff Leeper told WJAX. “He crawled out like a coward. But he’s in custody, and he’s going to pay for what he did to deputy Moyers.”

McDowell was also suffering from gunshot wounds due to a prior gun battle with police, WJAX reported.

Deputies had fired at him after he shot a JSO K9 who was pursuing him in the wake of the attack on Deputy Moyers.

McDowell had been shot in the thigh and had a graze wound on the top of the head, investigators said.

He reached out to friends to help him as he tried to evade arrest in the days that followed, WJAX reported.

“He knew if he went to the hospital, we would find him,” Sheriff Leeper noted.

At least one person has been taken into custody for allegedly helping the alleged murderer.

Sheriff Leeper said more arrests could be forthcoming.

McDowell was transported to the hospital after his arrest, WJAX reported.

The fatal attack occurred as Deputy Moyers was conducting a traffic stop involving McDowell and his female passenger, CNN reported.

Police later discovered the vehicle McDowell was driving was stolen.

The interaction between Deputy Moyers and McDowell was captured by Deputy Moyers’ bodycam, according to The Florida Times-Union.

At one point during the stop, Deputy Moyers went back to his patrol vehicle to run a check on McDowell and discovered his name didn’t match the ownership records of the suspect vehicle.

The deputy went back to the driver and asked him if he had any weapons and to step out of the vehicle, according to investigators.

“The driver’s arm came out of the vehicle with a handgun and shot the deputy right here,” Sheriff Leeper later told reporters, gesturing towards his face.

When Deputy Moyers collapsed to the ground after the first gunshot, the gunman “reached out and shot him in the back,” Sheriff Leeper said.

McDowell then sped off in the stolen vehicle before abandoning it in a nearby wooded area and fleeing on foot, The Florida Times-Union reported.

Deputy Moyers was transported to UF Health in Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries.

Sheriff Leeper announced on Saturday that the wounded deputy would not recover and that his fiancé and family had decided to donate his organs to help others, CNN reported.

The sheriff praised the hospital personnel and said they did everything they could to try to save Deputy Moyers, according to WJXT.

“They’re some of the best of the best, and there was just nothing they could do for Josh,” he said.

Deputy Moyers was pronounced dead on Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that I announce Deputy Josh Moyers has passed away this afternoon,” Sheriff Leeper confirmed in a tweet later that night. “Please keep Josh’s family and fiancé in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this terrible tragedy.”

Deputy Moyers joined the NCSO in 2015, according to The Florida Times-Union.

Sheriff Leeper said the young deputy was “a great guy” who was excited about planning his upcoming wedding with this fiancé.

A fundraising campaign established to help Deputy Moyers’ family in the wake of their loss has raised over $37,300 so far.

McDowell, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, was on drug-offender probation for a forgery conviction at the time of the attack, The Florida Times-Union reported.

He also has prior arrests for aggravated possession of stolen firearms and giving a false name to law enforcement.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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