Sheriff: Man who killed two Gilchrist County deputies lived, died in obscurity
The investigation into the man who shot and killed two Gilchrist County Sheriff's deputies as they ate lunch last week revealed there was very little to know about him, Sheriff Bobby Schultz said.
"I am only going to speak about this person one last time, then send him back into obscurity where he came from and, frankly belongs," Schultz told reporters.
Schultz said 59-year-old John Hubert Highnote was an overweight, balding white male with a white beard from Bell, Fla. The few people who did know him described him as a recluse and a loner, Schultz said. There are a few photos on the internet who resemble him but Schultz said they're not him and to date, the only verified photo they have of him is from his driver's license, which they're not able to give out. No one has claimed his body.
"What we do know is that he left his home on Thursday, April 19, 2018 with the ability and apparent intent to kill people," Schultz said.
Highnote went to a Newberry business where he worked 2 1/2 years ago but left as employees approached him. Then, armed with two rifles, a handgun and enough ammunition for each weapon, he went inside Ace China restaurant in Trenton where he killed Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 29, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25.
"When he was finished at the Ace China restaurant, he shot himself in his vehicle in the parking lot, just around the corner from where Taylor and Noel died," Schultz said.
Because he lived off the grid, investigators have not been able to determine any reason or motive, not that there was a reason that would justify shooting two deputies while they ate, Schultz said.
"The violence he perpetrated on Noel and Taylor can never be explained," Schultz said. "They were simply assassinated while having a meal."
Schultz said Highnote has had some contact with law enforcement over the last 40 years, most of which were traffic offenses. These incidents were so widely spaced by time, distance, and apparent relevance, that no connections or indications of future violence like this were identified nor could they have been linked together," he said.
Schultz ended his speech begging the public to stop targeting law enforcement officers.
"Law enforcement as a whole is getting better at identifying those who are battling mental health issues," he said. "We ask only one, simple thing: PLEASE STOP SHOOTING. Give us, the Deputies, Police Officers and First Responders who arrive a chance to help you. Please don’t shoot us or anyone else. We want to help you. Let us help you. Please don’t shoot us."
If you do know someone who is suffering Schultz said don't just write it off as odd. He said to let deputies know before it's too late.
"We’ll continue to answer the call, to serve our communities, and we sign up knowing there is risk. But we expect to have a chance – please don’t just shoot us before we can make a difference."