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Gilchrist County Sheriff identifies man who killed deputies 'without warning'

Deputy Lindsay and Sgt. Ramirez.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey stopped to eat at at a Chinese restaurant in the tiny city of Trenton around 3 p.m. Thursday when authorities say a man shot through the window and killed both men without warning.

Sheriff Bobby Schultz say deputies responded to a 911 call from the China Ace restaurant on State Road 26 and found the suspect, a man he only identified as "a coward", dead outside the restaurant.

Deputies later identified the shooter as 59-year-old John Hubert Highnote of Bell, Fla.

The deadly shootings left deputies to wonder why someone would kill two men Schultz identified as "the best of the best."

"I don't have answers as to why this happened," Schultz said, noting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating. Schultz said the 29-year-old Ramirez was a 7-year-veteran who was married with children. Lindsay was 25 years old. A statement released Thursday night said the men simply sat down to eat and that there was no crime in progress and no disturbance.

"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 it's been demonized?'" Schultz said. "The only thing these men were guilty of were wanting to protect you and me, they just wanted to go get something to eat and they just wanted to do their jobs."

Schultz talked to both families.

"As you expect you can never be prepared for something like this, but make no mistake I'm proud of their families," Schultz said. "They understood when their loved ones pinned on the badge and they strapped on the gun that this was a possibility."

Ramirez, he said, had an infectious smile. He said both were excited about participating in the First Responder Olympics. "Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey were the best of the best. They were men of integrity. They were men of loyalty. They're god fearing and they loved what they did."

RELATED: Candlelight vigil is set for Friday night in Newberry.

Gov. Rick Scott also released a statement about the fallen deputies.

“My wife, Ann, and I are heartbroken by the loss of two law enforcement officers in Trenton. I have spoken with the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office and committed all available state resources they may need. I have also been briefed by FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen who has officers on the scene. 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. Tonight, I ask every Floridian to honor these law enforcement officers, their brothers and sisters in uniform and their families. May God bless those who work to keep our communities safe.”




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