FL sheriff to armed homeowners who encounter suspect wanted for killing cop: “Blow him out the door”

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NASSAU COUNTY, FL – The Nassau County sheriff told armed homeowners that if the suspect accused of shooting a Nassau County deputy earlier in September – who is currently at-large – breaks into their home, to “blow him out the door.”

As we previously reported here at Law Enforcement Today, authorities are still on the hunt for 35-year-old Patrick Rene McDowell, the man wanted for the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Deputy Joshua Moyers.

The manhunt for the suspect, which the original incident occurred on September 24th, has since turned into law enforcement seeking an alleged murderer after Deputy Moyers passed away while at the hospital on September 26th.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper wrote the following in a release regarding the deputy’s passing:

“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. Please keep Josh’s family and fiancée in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this terrible tragedy.”

There’s an active Blue Alert out on McDowell, who has been able to evade capture for nearly three days since the early morning shooting that occurred on September 24th.

Authorities say that McDowell is wanted for the shooting of a police K9 that was dispatched during the initial search for him following the shooting.

While delivering an update on the search for the suspect on September 25th, Sheriff Leeper shared a message for residents in the area on how to deal with McDowell if they encounter him at their homes:

“This guy is dangerous. If you’re in a home and he breaks into your home and you have a gun, blow him out the door cause he’s like a rabid animal. He will kill you with his mindset. What he did to that deputy, was uncalled for, unnecessary and he needs to pay for it.”

As of this writing, there’s been no progress reported on whether investigators have any solid leads as to McDowell’s whereabouts.

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Here’s our previous report from earlier in September that detailed the shooting incident as well as the efforts deployed initially to locate the suspect.

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JACKSONVILLE, FL – According to reports, a Nassau County Sheriff’s deputy “is clinging to life” after being shot during a traffic stop on the morning of September 24th. Officials say the deputy was shot twice while attempting to pull over a stolen vehicle.

Authorities are currently conducting a manhunt for the suspect accused of shooting 29-year-old Deputy Joshua Moyers during an attempted traffic stop. Deputy Moyers was reportedly shot once in the back and once in the face, with Sheriff Bill Leeper expressing concerns that the deputy might not pull through:

“It’s very critical. We’re not sure if he’s going to make it or not. Everybody, please keep them in your prayers.”

Officials identified the at-large suspect as 35-year-old Patrick Rene McDowell, a former Marine who served from 2005 to 2009 and then as a reservist from 2009 to 2013. McDowell reportedly has been Baker Acted in the past and additionally suffers from depression, seizures, and PTSD.

In the lead up to the shooting, Deputy Moyers reportedly noticed a burgundy Chrysler minivan that was reported stolen out of Jacksonville shortly after midnight off of Sandy Ford Road near the railroad tracks, which was what led to the attempted traffic stop.

During the stop, McDowell allegedly shot the deputy twice and then drove off -narrowly missing the train – and headed onto a dirt road in a wooded area.

Police later found the van abandoned.

A woman was reportedly inside of the vehicle with McDowell during the shooting and exited the vehicle and called 911. Officials say she’s cooperating with authorities and provided investigators with the suspect information.

Police K9s were brought out to the area to search for the suspect, which authorities allege that McDowell shot one of the K9s involved in the search. Luckily, the K9 injured was rushed to a local vet and is expected to recover.

Sheriff Leeper stated that crews are still searching for McDowell and that said searches will continue overnight. The Florida Highway Patrol also confirmed that they’ll block off two-lane northbound lanes of U.S. 301 south of Callahan

The area being combed is described as a largely wooded area, hosting few homes and primarily serving as a hunting ground. Authorities admitted that the search will become difficult as the evening darkness sets in. However, law enforcement in the area is employing the use of helicopters and drones to seek out the suspect.

Officials are urging locals to stay inside of their homes and to be on the lookout for McDowell. He is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Investigators have not come forth with any possible motives for the shooting or stolen vehicle that led up to the incident.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates on this developing case and manhunt.

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Report: Sheriff’s deputy ambushed and shot in the head by former town marshal during welfare check

(Originally published September 20th, 2021)

NEW HARMONY, IN- According to the Indiana State Police (ISP), a Posey County sheriff’s deputy was shot while responding to a welfare check on the evening of September 18th. The deputy has been identified as 41-year-old Bryan Hicks.

In a press release, ISP Evansville District Sergeant Todd Ringle stated that the incident began around 6:46 p.m. when the Posey County 911 dispatch center received a call for a welfare check at 612 Short Street.

Within 10 minutes deputies and the New Harmony town marshal responded to the scene.

While outside the home, a man opened fire on them and law enforcement officers returned fire, wounding the suspect.

Hicks was shot in the head. The suspect has since been identified as 70-year-old Paul D. Wiltshire. Sheriff Tom Latham confirmed that Wiltshire was a former town marshal and reserve deputy. Sgt. Ringle stated that:

“During the exchange of gunfire, a Posey County sheriff’s deputy was shot and critically injured.”

According to authorities, the deputy and the suspect were both rushed to Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville.

As of this writing, details regarding their conditions have not been released, but sources stated the deputy is “basically fighting for his life.” Sgt. Ringle said in a statement:

“These types of calls are very nerve wracking. We know that in today’s society it is becoming more violent. These officers went to this residence to check on someone … and unfortunately, bad things occurred and right now, a Posey County deputy is fighting for his life.”

He added:

“Please keep the Posey County sheriff’s deputy and his family in your prayers.”

Wilshire, who has not yet been charged, received multiple gunshot wounds. Latham stated that this was the first officer-involved shooting in Posey County since 1994. He added:

“This situation has sent shock waves through this community and this office.”

According to the sergeant, the wounded deputy has a wife and family. The ISP is handling the ongoing investigation into the shooting. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

In a separate incident, police in Detroit, Michigan are investigating the fatal shooting of an off-duty Wayne County corrections officer who was killed just hours after finishing his shift.

The victim, identified as 23-year-old Devante Jones was shot several times after dropping someone off in the area of East Forest and Chrysler Service Drive in Detroit.

The sheriff’s office said Jones fled the vehicle, trying to escape the gunfire, but was found and privately conveyed to Detroit Receiving Hospital. He had been shot multiple times and has died of his injuries. 

Jones joined the department in October 2019 and worked in Jail Division I. During a news conference, Wayne County Undersheriff Mike Jaafar said in a statement:

“We’re all fathers. As a parent, we can all relate to that loss. I didn’t know the officer personally, but in our line of work you don’t really have to. We are a family and when this happens to one it happens to all.”

Jones was just six hours from the end of his last jail shift before he was killed. He got off at 11 p.m., Jaafar said. The person he dropped off was not a deputy sheriff. Jaafar added that the timeline between Jones leaving work at 11 p.m. and his death just before 5 .m. is unclear. 

Sheriff Raphael Washington issued a statement extending condolences and prayers to Jones’ family. He said:

“This resonates with all of us on the job. We’re going to do all we can to find out what happened.”

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