Sheriff: Killer of Gilchrist County deputies had 2 rifles, handgun

Man accused of killing deputies a 'recluse,' sheriff says

From left, Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey (photo courtesy the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office).

GILCHRIST COUNTY, Fla. – A sheriff says the man who fatally shot two deputies at a Chinese restaurant in Florida was armed with two rifles, a handgun and plenty of ammunition for both when he "assassinated" his men.

John Hubert Highnote, 59, was described Friday as a white male, balding with a white beard.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz says Highnote had no presence online, and investigators are still trying to find people who knew him in Bell, a town of fewer than 500 people where he had lived for years.

Schultz called the man a recluse, saying that not even neighbors could describe him. 

Authorities say Highnote killed himself after shooting Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey at the Ace China restaurant in nearby Trenton.

The sheriff says that before the shooting, Highnote had driven to a previous employer's business but fled after being approached by employees there.

Schultz and his deputies begged the community and members of the press during the news conference to stop talking about the shooter, calling him a coward who should "never get another second of attention."

Deputies asked that people keep in mind the difficulties law enforcement officers face while doing their jobs and how fearful they are for their lives as they believe much of society has turned their back on them.

"We only ask y'all for one simple thing: just please stop shooting," one of the deputies said. "Give us, the deputies, the police officers, the first responders, the chance to help you. Just please don’t shoot us. We want to help you."

The deputy said although they know the risks they face in their line of work, they will continue answering the calls they need to to protect their community.

"Do not shoot us before we can make the difference for you," he said.

Deputies said they know very few details about the investigation, as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to search for answers.

Officials said the gunman's motive is still unclear, but emphasized that no reason could ever be good enough to bring comfort to the fallen deputies' families.

The sheriff asked the community to pray for Noel and Taylor's families as the investigation continues.