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After five-day manhunt, authorities catch suspect in killing of Florida deputy

<i>Nassau County Sheriff's Office</i><br/>Authorities identified the suspect in the death of Nassau County Deputy Josh Moyers as Patrick McDowell.
Nassau County Sheriff's Office
Nassau County Sheriff's Office
Authorities identified the suspect in the death of Nassau County Deputy Josh Moyers as Patrick McDowell.

By Rebekah Riess and Steve Almasy, CNN

The suspect in the killing of Deputy Josh Moyers has been apprehended after a five-day manhunt in northeast Florida, the Nassau County sheriff said Tuesday.

“We got our man. It’s a great day in Nassau County,” Sheriff Bill Leeper said at a news conference. “He’s in custody and he’s going to pay for what he did to Deputy Moyers.”

Moyers was shot twice during a traffic stop Friday morning and died from his wounds Sunday, officials said.

Leeper said suspect Patrick McDowell was surrounded at a ballpark in the small town of Callahan — in Nassau County about 10 miles northwest of downtown Jacksonville — where law enforcement gave him the opportunity to give himself up.

“He came out of the bathrooms and got down on the ground and crawled. He crawled like a baby, like the coward he is,” the sheriff said. “The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office SWAT team had him surrounded, gave him some commands. He didn’t fully cooperate; they unleashed one of their dogs, who attacked him on the arm to get him in handcuffs.”

Leeper said McDowell was detained with Moyers’ handcuffs.

McDowell was taken to a hospital for wounds he sustained during a previous interaction with law enforcement, the sheriff said.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has one person in custody who is suspected of helping McDowell evade law enforcement and is looking for others, Leeper said.

“There may be some more,” the sheriff said. “We don’t know yet, but we’re continuing to investigate.”

More than 300 people had joined the hunt for McDowell.

Authorities told CNN on Friday that the deputy had been conducting a traffic stop around 2 a.m. when he was shot.

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Ashley Spicer said a female passenger in the vehicle had cooperated with investigators and identified McDowell as the suspect.

“She basically told us who he is, because he lied when we pulled them over. It was a stolen vehicle,” Spicer said.

The suspect fired on the deputy after being asked to get out of the car, Leeper said Friday.

“The driver’s arm came out of the vehicle with a handgun and shot the deputy right here,” Leeper said, pointing to his face. When the deputy fell, the suspect “reached out and shot him in the back,” Leeper said.

A $54,000 reward was offered to find McDowell, officials had said.

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CNN’s Melissa Alonso and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.

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