Manhunt underway for shooter after deputy shot in the face and back during a traffic stop: ‘He won’t survive’

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Editor update: Since this article was written, we’ve learned that the deputy will not be able to survive his injuries.

According to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, although doctors did their best, “there was just nothing they could do for Josh.”

According to Leeper, Moyers’ family decided his organs should be donated, and so he’s being kept alive until matches can be found.

Here are the details on the attack.

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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Video: Brevard Sheriff shares footage of ambush shooting that left gunman dead and deputy shot

(Originally published September 11th, 2021)

BREVARD COUNTY, FL – The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office recently released the dashcam footage of a traffic stop that turned into an ambush shooting from late August which resulted in the armed suspect being killed and one of the deputies being shot and suffering severe head injuries during the incident.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey noted in the released footage that the deceased suspect was a “career criminal” and was critical over the suspect being out on bond during the time of the ambush.

The incident occurred on August 30th, after Deputy Tyler Thoman pulled over a vehicle on West New Haven Avenue, west of Interstate 95 in West Melbourne. The vehicle hosted two male occupants, one female occupant, an infant and a dog.

Footage from the incident was captured from the dashcam of Deputy Brian Potters, who was the second deputy to arrive on the scene to assist Deputy Thoman with the stop due to the multiple occupants inside of the vehicle.

In the footage captured, Deputy Thoman can be seen speaking with the female occupant of the vehicle right next to his cruiser. While this is ongoing, Deputy Potters can be seen briefly standing beside another one of the occupants leaning against the trunk of the car.

Deputy Potters then makes his way over to the suspect in the back passenger seat of the vehicle, engaging in small talk over the infant and dog in the car. Overall, the exchange between Deputy Potters and the suspect seemed pleasant and conversational.

But it was when Deputy Potters asked the suspect in the back seat to step out of the car that things went chaotic – and fast.

The suspect produced what Sheriff Ivey referred to as a “small stock AR-15 styled rifle”, which the suspect immediately opens fire on Deputy Potters.

Deputy Potter can be heard yelling that he was “hit” by the suspect’s gunfire, as he works to create distance between himself and the suspect.

While this is taking place, both of the other vehicle occupants scurry to avoid being caught in between the gunfire, and Deputy Thoman rushes to the rear of his vehicle to take cover.

As the gunman continues to fire from in front of the vehicle, it appears that he’s hit by some return fire by one of the deputies – which results in him somewhat hobbling to move around while gunfire is exchanged.

The suspect goes between the two vehicles seen in the footage, and the two deputies slip back into frame and peer over Deputy Thoman’s vehicle in what appears to be them scanning for the suspect’s whereabouts.

Suddenly, the suspect comes up behind both of the deputies, using his rifle to bludgeon Deputy Potters on the head, as the weapon apparently jammed during the firefight.

Deputy Thoman backs and drops the empty magazine from his sidearm, coming back around on the other side after reloading and empties the entire magazine into the suspect.

Deputy Thoman was not injured during the incident; however, Deputy Potters suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and both lacerations and fractures to his face from the assault he endured via the suspect using his firearm as an impromptu cudgel.

Sheriff Ivey wanted to point out during the dashcam footage release that neither of the other two occupants that were interviewed by the deputies prior to the ambush had anything to do with the attempted killing of the deputies:

“I want to be very clear neither of these two occupants had anything to do with this ambush or criminal activity. And I’m extremely grateful that they were not injured and how they immediately returned to the scene as instructed by Deputy Thoman.”

The sheriff took aim at the fact that the deceased suspect happened to be out on bond at the time of the ambush, highlighting the suspect’s long criminal record and saying something is awry when people like that can walk out of jail on bond:

“This case is a perfect example of what is wrong with our criminal justice system. When a registered career criminal with 23 felony charges, 17 misdemeanor charges, multiple convictions for violent offenses, and two active and pending drug trafficking cases is out on the streets where he can attempt to kill our deputies and put other lives at risk – something is wrong with our system.”

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