A Florida deputy died Sunday, two days after he was shot during a traffic stop.
In response to the death of Deputy Joshua Moyers, 29, a Blue Alert has been issued in Florida’s Nassau County for Patrick McDowell, a former Marine suspected of shooting Moyers during a traffic stop early Friday morning just north of Jacksonville, according to WBFS-TV.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said doctors tried to save Moyers, who was shot in the face and back, but “there was just nothing they could do for Josh.” On Saturday, Leeper said Moyers would not survive, but was being kept alive until his organs could be donated.
Deputy Joshua Moyers, who was shot in the face and the back, “is not going to survive,” according to Sheriff Bill Leeper. https://t.co/d4BgFvfzUH
— First Coast News (@FCN2go) September 25, 2021
“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 fiancé in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this terrible tragedy.” Sheriff Bill Leeper
— Nassau County SO (@NCSO_FL) September 26, 2021
McDowell, 35, has been on the run ever since. Some say finding McDowell could result in even more death.
“I know he was military trained, and he was a very good student, very professional. I didn’t know anything negative about him,” weapons instructor Del Angelo, who trained McDowell as a security guard, told WJXT-TV.
“We just trained him basically for security response and how to use a handgun for self-defense or for protecting an area and he was very accomplished in his use of a handgun.”
Angelo said he thinks McDowell will make it in the woods.
BLUE ALERT: Patrick McDowell is accused of shooting and fatally injuring a sheriffs deputy during a Friday morning traffic stop. Multiple agencies are involved in this now three-day statewide search. https://t.co/pT2y4j1Kpy
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) September 26, 2021
“He’s very much a survivalist and he’s been military trained on survival and weapons use. So he’s very accomplished at survival and being unrecognized,” he said. “He can’t change his appearance but he can sure hide well and know how to stay out of people’s line of sight.”
HELP FIND HIM: Deputies in north Florida are still searching for Patrick McDowell, the suspect in the deadly traffic-stop shooting of a Nassau County deputy.
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) September 27, 2021
According to WJXT, McCowell served in the Marines from 2005 to 2009, deploying twice as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in the Marine Corps Reserve from 2009 to 2013, WJXT reported.
Marine veteran Dallas Harpe, a Nassau County resident, said the hunt for McDowell might take some time.
“A man could survive in the woods with the training that he’s got up to 30 days or so,” said Harpe, a small arms and rifle instructor, according to WJXT-TV.
“The most important part of the basic training that would be helping him is when you’re going through infantry training, you’re taught to camouflage yourself, blend in with your surroundings. You’re taught discipline where you can remain absolutely still no matter what’s going on around you and the ability to move quietly through the woods,” said Harpe.
“It looks like there’s a lot of wetlands, so a man could slip through where it’s wet and his scent would be lost to the dogs and that would help him hide. If he walks through water, they’ll lose the scent,” he said.
Police are using heat-seeking technology, helicopters and drones in the hunt.
The technology could defeat training, Harpe said.
“You could have all the training in the world, but you can’t hide your body heat from heat sensors unless you have special material, and I doubt that he has because of the way that he entered the woods,” said Harpe.
A flashlight and a hat believed to belong to McDowell have been found, WJXT reported.
Police organizations are offering more than $50,000 for information the leads to McDowell’s arrest, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
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