A Florida sheriff, mincing no words, told citizens that if a man suspected of critically wounding one of his sheriff’s deputies, who is not expected to survive, tries to break into their home, they should “blow him out the door cause he’s like a rabid animal.”
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper referred to Patrick Rene McDowell, who, according to the Northeast Florida Fusion Center, an arm of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agency that supports sheriffs’ offices, had military training in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2005 to 2009. McDowell, 35, shot Deputy Josh Moyers, 29, in the face last Friday during a 2:30 a.m. Friday traffic stop .
Leeper said Moyers’ body camera captured the incident, in which Moyers approached a Chrysler minivan occupied by McDowell and his female passenger. McDowell reportedly did not have a driver’s license and gave Moyers a false name. After Moyers returned to his car and did a records check, he came back to McDowell and asked him whether he had any weapons and asked him to exit the minivan.
Leeper said the video showed McDowell shooting Moyers in the face, then continuing by shooting him in the back after Moyers had collapsed to the ground before McDowell fled in the van to a woods nearby. Deputies found the minivan abandoned with the woman still inside. Leeper stated she is cooperating.
“McDowell, 35, had been sentenced on May 24 to a year and six months on probation on a forgery charge and was under drug-offender probation. The probation was imposed after a Nov. 5, 2018 arrest, Florida Department of Corrections records showed,” The Florida Times-Union reported. “He also has prior arrests on charges of giving a false name to law enforcement and aggravated possession of stolen firearms according to information in an alert from the Northeast Florida Fusion Center.”
Leeper stated at a Saturday afternoon news briefing, “Unfortunately, Deputy Moyers is not going to survive. Where the bullets lodged, what it did, there’s just nothing they can do, unfortunately. … We now have a murderer on the loose in our community. 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.”
“If we find out anybody has helped him or is going to help him, do not do that,” he added. “If we find out you’ve helped this guy, we’re going to arrest you. We’re going to arrest you. We’re going to arrest you for preventing us from capturing him.“
“Up to $50,000 in rewards are being offered by donors including the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Deputy Association and Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of McDowell,” The Florida Time-Union noted.
A massive manhunt has been commenced; Leeper concluded, “We’re going to find him eventually.”