Two sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed today in the town of Trenton, Florida by a man who shot at them while they were eating lunch at a Chinese food restaurant. The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Facebook about the crime:
At approximately 3:00pm this afternoon, two Gilchrist County Deputy Sheriffs were shot and killed in the Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton, after a suspect walked up to business and shot both deputies through the window. As fellow deputies responded to the scene, they found the shooter deceased outside the business, and both Deputy Sheriffs where they died of their wounds.
At this point, it remains an active criminal investigation with no apparent motive or indications as to why this tragedy occurred.
There was a press conference a short time ago. Sheriff Bobby Schultz said the deceased officers were Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey. He praised both officers saying he knew them both personally.
Sergeant Noel Ramirez. Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey.
Our heroes. Killed in the line of duty today, April 19th, at the Ace China in Trenton.
We'll continue to serve you. For them.
— Gilchrist Co Sheriff (@GCSOFlorida) April 20, 2018
Asked what he could say about the shooter, Sheriff Schultz replied, “Nothing.” He declined to release the shooter’s name.
The Sheriff did say, “There’s so much I want to say and so much I shouldn’t say.” He continued, “We’re not going to make this a political issue other than the fact…What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent that it has been demonized, every type of hate, every type of put-down that you can think of.” He added, “The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me.”
Governor Rick Scott and President Trump both tweeted their condolences.
Governor Rick Scott's Statement on the Shooting of Gilchrist County Deputy Sheriffs pic.twitter.com/3HLmd04xoa
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) April 20, 2018
It’s too early to say what happened here. Perhaps this was a crazy person with a gun or perhaps this was someone targeting a specific officer with whom he had some sort of history. Or maybe this really is another case of someone targeting police officers because of their uniform. We’ll know more when the identity of the shooter is revealed. Here’s a local news report on the shooting.
Update: From the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office:
Sergeant Ramirez, 29 years old, leaves behind a wife and two young children. With over seven years’ total law enforcement experience, Noel served at both the Williston Police Department and the Levy County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office in 2016.
Deputy Lindsey, 25, served for over three years with the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, originally joining the Sheriff’s Office in 2013. Sheriff Schultz made personal notification to loved ones of both deputies this afternoon.
Both our heroes had simply sat down to eat while on duty. There was no crime in progress, no disturbance. The suspect appears to have walked to the front of the business and shot both men without warning. Two holes in the window are visible tonight.
The shooter, found deceased from a gunshot wound by responders outside the business nearby, has been identified as John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell. No further information is available regarding the assailant, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the active, ongoing criminal investigation.