Gunman entered Chinese restaurant to fatally shoot Florida deputies before killing self
The man who killed two Florida sheriff’s deputies walked into a Chinese restaurant and shot them to death while they were eating, according to new information from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooter then left the restaurant and was found dead in a vehicle from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff’s office said in a press release Friday.
The victims, Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 29, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, were found dead by deputies who later arrived at the scene.
Authorities initially said that the gunman, identified as John Hubert Highnote, 58, had shot the uniformed men through a window at the Ace China restaurant in Trenton, citing visible bullet holes in the glass.
An investigation later revealed Highnote had walked into the restaurant.
“I’m not sure exactly where in the restaurant they were seated but they were inside the restaurant having a meal when they were ambushed," Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer told the Daily News Friday.
Highnote had no prior history with the Gilchrist Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.
“It appears he just walked up and shot them, then went to his car and shot himself. It’s inexplicable,” said State Attorney Bill Cervon, according to News 4 Jax. “People will want to know why, and we may never have an answer for them,” he added.
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz blamed the killings on hatred toward law enforcement.
“What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it’s been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of putdown you can think of,” Schultz said at a press conference Thursday.
A construction worker who witnessed the shooting said that Highnote emerged from the restaurant “calm as can be,” WFLA reported.
Sgt. Ramirez had seven years of law enforcement experience and leaves behind a wife and two young children.
Deputy Lindsey served for more than three years and leaves behind a girlfriend.
Schultz described them as “men of integrity, men of loyalty.”
“They gave their lives so that we can all be safe,” he said.