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Hero Down: Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Moyers Murdered By Gunman

Jacksonville, FL – Nassau County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) Deputy Josh Moyers died in the line of duty on Sunday after being shot in the face and back during a traffic stop two days prior.

The attack occurred as the 29-year-old deputy was conducting a traffic stop in Callahan at approximately 2 a.m. on Sept. 24, CNN reported.

Police later discovered the vehicle, which was allegedly being driven by 35-year-old Patrick McDowell, was stolen, CNN reported.

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,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill 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.

The suspect was eventually captured on Tuesday after a five-day manhunt.

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.

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 $28,800 so far.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Josh Moyers, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Deputy Josh Moyers, your life mattered.

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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