Two Gilchrist County deputies joined the ranks of fallen officers Thursday when they were ambushed while eating a late lunch at a Chinese restaurant in the northern Florida city of Trenton. According to reports, after killing the two deputies, the gunman turned the gun on himself. All three were dead by the time other deputies responded.
The deputies, Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey (shown), were originally reported to have been shot through the window in the restaurant, but subsequent statements by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s office state that the gunman, John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell, Florida, entered the restaurant and ambushed the two deputies as they were eating. The shooting was completely unprovoked and no motive has been released by authorities.
Records show that Highnote had a long and violent criminal history, going back to a charge of illegally concealing a handgun in 1978. He was also accused of a 1993 incident in which he launched “a campaign of frightening harassment against a woman who went out to dinner with him and then decided she only wanted to be friends,” according to Heavy.
In a press conference, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz said Ramirez was 30 and Lindsey was 25. He also said of the two deputies, “They were God-fearing, and they loved what they did and were very proud of it,” adding, “I loved them and they were loved, and I met with the families today and told them they can be proud of those men. They can be proud, and I’ve been proud to have been their sheriff.”
Bill Cervone, a state attorney, told The Gainsville Sun, “It appears he just walked up and shot them, then went to his car and shot himself. It’s inexplicable,” adding, “people will want to know why and we may never have an answer for them.”
The Officer Down Memorial Page has listed both deputies as reaching their final End of Watch Thursday, April 19, 2018 at approximately 3:00 pm. It also lists the following information:
Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey and Sergeant Noel Ramirez were shot and killed from ambush as they took their lunch break in a restaurant at 1122 East Wade Street, in Trenton.
Deputy Lindsey had served with the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office for two years.
Sergeant Ramirez had served with the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office for seven years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
While his office has not released information about a motive, Schultz indicated that the culture of hatred toward law enforcement — the war on cops — is ultimately to blame. Saying that the senseless deaths of the two deputies hit him “like a ton of bricks,” Schultz also said, “What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent it’s been demonized? Every type of hate, every type of put down you can think of, the only thing these men were guilty of was protecting you and me.” He added, “They just wanted to get something to eat and to do their jobs.”
Shultz contrasted the fallen deputies with the man who took their lives, saying, “The world is full of cowards, and the world's full of heroes. We need to highlight those heroes and what they gave.”
President Trump tweeted his condolences, saying, “My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and colleagues of the two deputies (HEROES) who lost their lives in the line of duty today.”
Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey are the 41st and 42nd officers to die in the line of duty this year. That averages out to nearly three officers per week. The war on cops is taking its toll. At this rate, at least 136 officers will lay down their lives protecting their communities by the end of the year. And while that number is both sad and unacceptable, it is in keeping with trends over the past few years. The year 2017 saw 135 line of duty deaths. In 2016, it was 161.
With the number of officers who die in the line of duty and shrinking recruitment due to “every type of hate, every type of put down you can think of,” America’s cities may soon find themselves in need of help that isn’t coming.
This writer and The New American would like to take this moment to honor Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey along with the other 40 officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice already this year.
“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13.
Photos of Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey: AP Images