Nassau County

‘He crawled out like a coward’: Man wanted in murder of Nassau deputy captured after 5-day manhunt

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — The multi-day manhunt for Patrick McDowell, the man wanted in the deadly shooting of Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Moyers, has come to an end.

The 35-year-old has been on the run since Friday, Sept. 24, after he was named as the suspect who shot Moyers twice, including once in the back, during a traffic stop in Callahan. Moyers died of his injuries two days later.

Action News Jax told you Monday that the perimeter of the search for McDowell was now centered on a much smaller area. On Tuesday, following a tip, the search ended at a baseball field in Callahan.

STORY: ‘They are never going to let his name die’: Hundreds honor Deputy Moyers in 50-mile procession

Callahan Soccer Club said in a post on its Facebook page that the park and soccer club will be closed until further notice as the scene is processed by law enforcement.

McDowell was hiding inside a concession stand bathroom when deputies swarmed the area. NCSO said McDowell shouted from inside that he wanted to surrender.

“He crawled out like a baby. Like the coward that he is,” Nassau Sheriff Bill Leeper says.

During his surrender, according to NCSO, a JSO K9 was unleashed after McDowell failed to fully cooperate with orders given to him by SWAT team members. He suffered bites to one arm.

Last week McDowell was seriously injured after being shot by deputies who returned fire after the suspect shot a JSO K9. He was hit twice; once in the thigh, another bullet grazed the top of his head.

RELATED: What we know about suspect behind shooting of Nassau deputy, JSO K9

In a live news conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Leeper said McDowell had contacted multiple people for help since the massive search began. One person is in custody for helping him evade arrest during the manhunt, according to NCSO. “He knew if he went to the hospital we would find him,” Leeper said.

More people may be arrested for aiding McDowell. Leeper does not believe any members of the suspect’s family were among those who helped him hide.

When asked if he wished deputies would have found McDowell dead Leeper said, “I wish he would have given us the opportunity to shoot him. He crawled out like a coward. But he’s in custody, and he’s going to pay for what he did to deputy Moyers.”

STORY: Father guards his house fully armed as authorities search for gunman who shot Nassau deputy

McDowell was taken to UF Health for treatment.

A Nassau County spokesperson said McDowell apologized to a deputy after his arrest. McDowell was arrested with Moyers’ handcuffs.

Investigators say that McDowell, a former U.S. Marine and reservist, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following his military service. McDowell has also been in and out of Five STAR Veterans Center in the past two years as part of Veterans Treatment Court order.

RELATED: Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers: What we know about the Florida deputy shot during a traffic stop

On Monday McDowell’s father, Richard offered his condolences to Moyers’ family and loved ones in a public letter:

“I want to explain a few things about Patrick but please don’t think I’m making excuses for him or trying to rationalize his actions. After Patrick returned from Iraq he enrolled and sought help from the VA for depression, headaches, and nightmares. He was diagnosed with PTSD and depression and some physical infirmities. At first, he was motivated to deal with his demons and started a family. As time progressed, he slipped into a darker place. He had trouble with seizures, pain management, and sleep patterns. He turned to drugs and quit going to his VA appointments. He started stealing to support his habit and was arrested. He was accepted into Veterans Treatment Court and was doing very well. Judge Floyd and David were very engaged with him as were the Lovings at 5 Star.

You can read his father’s full letter here.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office announced that through organ donation Moyers will live on in five people, including an infant. The deputy’s liver, pancreas, lungs, and kidney were all donated.

Funeral services for Moyers will be held Saturday at Callahan First Baptist Church. The service is not open to the public, per his family’s request.

Photos: Nassau County murder suspect Patrick McDowell captured after a 5-day manhunt

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.

Aurielle Eady

Aurielle Eady, Action News Jax

Aurielle Eady is a digital content producer for Action News Jax.

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