CALLAHAN, Fla. – A Nassau County deputy is clinging to life at UF Health Jacksonville after he was shot early Friday morning during a traffic stop of a stolen minivan, News 6 partner WJXT-TV reported.
Sheriff Bill Leeper said Deputy Joshua Moyers was shot twice -- once in the face, once in the back as he fell to the ground.
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
The entire incident was recorded by an NCSO camera.
“It’s very critical. We’re not sure if he’s going to make it or not,” Leeper said, trying to keep his composure. “Everybody, please keep them in your prayers.”
Moyers was hired as a Nassau County deputy in 2015 and Leeper called him “a great guy.”
Leeper said Moyers was recently engaged to be married.
Leeper visited Moyers in the hospital and met with his fiancee and parents.
Several Nassau County deputies, some in dress uniform, stood watch outside UF Health Jacksonville’s emergency room Friday awaiting word on their fellow officer.
“Officers are going to support each other in times like this,” WJXT crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said. “They are going to be here and they are here to provide that peace in that comfort, as much as they possibly can. They’re praying for each other. They’re praying for the family.”
.@FLCaseyDeSantis and I are praying for the Nassau County Deputy Sheriff who was shot and critically injured at a routine traffic stop.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 24, 2021
The individual responsible will be brought to justice and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has the support of Florida in this search.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a 35-year-old man wanted in connection with the shooting. A spokeswoman for the sheriff said Patrick McDowell (pictured below) is considered “armed and dangerous.” If you see him, you are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 904-548-4000.
A woman inside the vehicle with McDowell during the traffic stop of a minivan stolen from Jacksonville remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators, according to the sheriff’s office.
Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and state patrol personnel have been seen searching along U.S. 301 near Higginbotham Road and Sandy Ford Road since early Friday.
A K-9 was also shot but is expected to recover, officials said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with @NCSO_FL as they deal with the unthinkable…. We are there to assist them anyway possible… so help them get this guy, Patrick McDowell…if you see him, call the police! pic.twitter.com/U6ZW1n7OKO— THEJFRD (@THEJFRD) September 24, 2021
More photos of our suspect Patrick McDowell. Please call police ASAP if you see him. pic.twitter.com/M6QwbGlyzR— Nassau County SO (@NCSO_FL) September 24, 2021
Witnesses told WJXT-TV that they have seen authorities with Nassau County, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol driving along U.S. 301 looking for McDowell.
A second person inside the vehicle with McDowell remained at the scene and was cooperating with investigators, according to sheriff’s officials.
RIGHT NOW: Heavy police presence in Callahan off 301 and Higginbotham dr. Several witnesses tell us they heard gunfire. NCSO and JSO are here. JSO’s helicopter is searching the area. NCSO can’t release anything yet. We’re working to find out what happened. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/8RI3ngJmZ5— Corley Peel (@WJXT_CorleyPeel) September 24, 2021