Suspect in the shooting death of Fla. Deputy Joshua Moyers caught

Former Marine Patrick Rene McDowell was taken into custody after a five-day manhunt

By Dan Scanlan
The Florida Times-Union
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville man sought in the weekend death of Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers has been caught, according to the Nassau County Emergency Management center.

Following a five-day manhunt in and around Callahan near where the 29-year-old deputy was mortally wounded early Friday, 35-year-old ex-Marine Patrick Rene McDowell was found, the agency's tweet announced just before 12:30 p.m.

"The fugitive murder suspect has been apprehended near Callahan," it said.

Deputy Joshua Moyers died Sunday after being shot in the face and back early Friday morning.
Deputy Joshua Moyers died Sunday after being shot in the face and back early Friday morning. (Nassau County Sheriff's Office)

Various news agencies reported the capture occurred in a baseball field concession stand next to a Callahan school.

The deputy was shot during a 2:30 a.m. Friday traffic stop of a Chrysler minivan on Sandy Ford Road about 3 miles south of Callahan. The driver, next to a female passenger, shot Moyers in the face and back, Sheriff Bill Leeper said. A second deputy found Moyers wounded on the ground, while the abandoned minivan and the passenger were found nearby.

Moyers, whose body camera recorded the shooting, died Sunday, the Sheriff's Office said.

McDowell was considered to be armed and dangerous, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a statewide Blue Alert for him over the weekend, warning anyone who spots him to stay away and call 911 or the Sheriff's Office. Hundreds of officers from Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, including the FDLE, Jacksonville and Camden County sheriff's offices, were searching for him.

McDowell's father had expressed his sadness and regrets to Moyers' family and friends in a long statement to The Times-Union. Saying he knows that his words are a small consolation given what a good and decent man the deptuy was, Richard McDowell said he wished that he could change what happened or trade places with the late deputy. He also reiterated that his son had many issues after returning home from his U.S. Marine Corps service in Iraq.

"Please don't think I'm making excuses for him or trying to rationalize his actions. After Patrick returned from Iraq, he enrolled and sought help from the VA," the elder McDowell said. "... He was diagnosed with PTSD and depression and some physical infirmities. At first he was motivated to deal with his demons and started a family. As time progressed, he slipped into a darker place."


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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