Authorities believe the shooting deaths of two Florida sheriff deputies Thursday afternoon was an intentional ambush. Now more heartbreaking details are emerging as their loved ones and colleagues grieve.
According to Fox News, 30-year-old Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Department’s Sgt. Noel Ramirez and 25-year-old deputy Taylor Lindsey were in a Chinese restaurant in Trenton — 30 miles west of Gainesville — when 59-year-old John Hubert Highnote reportedly walked by and started shooting at them through a glass window.
According to the Gainesville Sun, though, they were shot by Highnote from inside the restaurant. Whichever way it happened, the two deputies inside the eatery died.
Next, authorities say Highnote went back to his car and shot himself to death. The death of the two deputies has stunned the law enforcement community and the people of the small town.
“Those two heroes walked in there to have a meal together and they were ambushed,” said Levy County Sheriff’s Office’s Lt. Scott Tummond, wiping away tears at one point while sharing details of the incident.
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, who expressed he was relying on his faith in God to get him through this, said he loved the men and called them the “best of the best.”
Unable to completely contain his hurt and anger, he added, “What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent that it’s been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of put-down that you can think of. The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me.”
See his emotional tribute to them below:
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi added, “The daily risk that law enforcement officers take to protect our communities is overwhelming. My deepest condolences and prayers are with their families as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved ones. May their families, friends and fellow officers find peace and comfort during this very difficult time.”
President Trump also shared his thoughts on Twitter Thursday afternoon, writing, “My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and colleagues of the two @GCSOFlorida deputies (HEROES) who lost their lives in the line of duty today.”
"It is a true evil for anyone to hurt a law enforcement officer, and in Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence, especially against police," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.
As for the community of Trenton, resident Austin Sizemore said, “It’s devastating. You hear about Vegas. You hear about Parkland. But you never think it could come so close to home. We’re a going-to-church community. We’re all well-mannered. You never expect foolishness like this from anyone.”
It does not appear that either Ramirez or Lindsey had time to fire back at their attacker. No motive for the attack has yet been released. Ramirez had a wife and child. Lindsey had a girlfriend.
Please pray for this community and for the safety of our law enforcement officers as they put their lives on the line to serve and protect us. In other news, a TV star announced the birth of her baby after a secret pregnancy.