The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Department identified the suspect who fatally shot two deputies Thursday in a restaurant in Trenton, Florida, as 59-year-old John Hubert Highnote.
The Sheriff’s Department confirmed Highnote was a resident of Bell, a town in Gilchrist County, Florida.
“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,” the department said.
It was not clarified if Highnote’s gunshot wounds were self-inflicted.
No further details regarding the gunman or his motive were released by the police. However, online records showed Highnote had a series of addresses throughout Florida over the years, including Clearwater, Daytona Beach and St. Petersburg.
The shooting, which appeared to be an ambush, took place Thursday afternoon while the deputies were eating in the restaurant. Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. Schultz III identified the slain officers in a news briefing as 29-year-old Sgt. Noel Ramirez, a seven-year law enforcement veteran, and 25-year-old Deputy Taylor Lindsey, a three-year law enforcement veteran.
Schultz said Ramirez had three children and was married, while Lindsey was unmarried but had a girlfriend.
He also spoke about the apparent ambush in an emotional press conference, and said, “I don’t have answers to why this happened. They’re men of integrity. They’re men of loyalty. They’re God-fearing. And they loved what they did. And we’re very proud of them.”
Shultz also added Ramirez and Lindsey were “the best of the best.”
“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’s been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of putdown that you can think of. The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me. They just wanted to get something to eat, and they just wanted to do their job,” Shultz added.
The department reported Schultz was “on scene throughout the afternoon with his deputies and their families, notifying additional loved ones.”
In addition to that, officials from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the State Attorney’s Office also responded to the scene in order to assist with the investigation.
Highnote had a criminal history in Pinellas County, Florida, from 1994 when he was accused of misdemeanor criminal mischief but the case was later dismissed, Heavy.com reported. In 1978, he was accused of carrying a concealed weapon, but that charge was also dismissed.
In response to the shooting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, “It is true evil for anyone to hurt a law enforcement officer, and in Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence, especially against the police.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also responded to the shooting.
“The daily risk that law enforcement officers take to protect our communities is overwhelming,” Bondi said. “My deepest condolences and prayers are with their families as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved ones.”