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Authorities arrest suspect in murder of Florida lawmaker


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

Moyers was shot dead during a traffic stop Friday morning and died of his injuries on Sunday, officials said.

Leeper said suspect Patrick McDowell was surrounded at a stadium in the small town of Callahan – in Nassau County about 10 miles northwest of downtown Jacksonville – where law enforcement gave him the opportunity to surrender.

“He got out of the toilet and lay down on the floor and crawled. He crawled like a baby, like the coward he is,” the sheriff said. “The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office SWAT team surrounded him, gave him orders. He did not fully cooperate; they unleashed one of their dogs, who attacked him in the arm to handcuff him.”

Leeper said McDowell was being held with Moyers handcuffs.

McDowell was taken to hospital with injuries 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 believed to have helped McDowell escape law enforcement and are looking for others, Leeper said.

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

Over 300 people joined in the McDowell hunt.

Authorities told CNN on Friday that the deputy carried out a traffic stop around 2 a.m. when he was shot.

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

Authorities arrest suspect in murder of Florida lawmaker

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

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

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

A reward of $ 54,000 was offered for finding McDowell, the officials said.

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

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