2 deputies killed in line of duty in Florida were ‘best of the best,’ sheriff says

11

iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, Fla.) -- Two Florida deputies were killed in the line of duty today, according to law enforcement officials.

Two Gilchrist County Sheriff's deputies were shot and killed at about 3 p.m. while they were at the Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton -- located about 50 miles west of Gainesville -- Sheriff Bobby Schultz said in a statement.

The suspect walked up to the restaurant and shot both of the deputies through the window, Schultz said. Deputies responding to the scene then found the suspected shooter dead outside of the business, according to the sheriff.

Both deputies died of their injuries, Schultz said. The suspect is an adult male, Schultz said. There is no indication that there were multiple gunmen, he added.

The deputies were identified as 30-year-old Sgt. Noel Ramirez and 25-year-old Deputy Taylor Lindsay. Ramirez, a seven-year veteran of the force, is survived by a wife and children, Schultz said. Lindsay, who'd been on the force for three years, was not married but had a girlfriend, according to the sheriff.

Schultz described Ramirez and Lindsay as "the best of the best."

"They are men with integrity. They are men of loyalty," he said. "They're God-fearing, and they loved what they did, and we're very proud of them."

Investigators have not determined a motive or "indications as to why this tragedy occurred," according to the sheriff, who was on the scene throughout the afternoon and notified the deputies' loved ones.

"I do not have answers as to why this happened," Schultz said, calling the gunman a "coward."

"The world is full of cowards, and the world's full of heroes," he said. "We need to highlight those heroes and what they gave."

Schultz suggested that the deputies may have been killed because law enforcement has been "demonized."

"The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me," he said. "They just wanted to get something to eat, and they just wanted to do their jobs."

Schultz described Ramirez as having an "infectious smile" and said Lindsay was planning to participate in the first responder Olympics.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he is "heartbroken" at the loss of the deputies.

"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," Scott said in a statement. "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."

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement that the Gilchrist County Sheriff's deputies were "senselessly killed."

"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. May their families, friends and fellow officers find peace and comfort during this very difficult time."

The sheriff's office tweeted that it suffered a "terrible tragedy" and asked residents to avoid the area where the deputies were killed.

Law enforcement officials from neighboring countries, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state attorney's office are assisting in the ongoing investigation, Schultz said.

Further details on the shooting were not immediately available and will be released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Schultz said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.