Nassau County deputy shot during traffic stop ID’d; manhunt continues

Search underway for Patrick McDowell

Deputy Josh Moyers, 35, joined the Nassau County Sheriff's Office in 2015.

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.

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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.”

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.

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.

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Digital election producer in 2022. He created in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.