CALLAHAN, Fla. — Matthew Thompson lives in the search area off Old Baldwin and Sandy Ford roads in Callahan where hundreds of law enforcement officers are searching for Patrick McDowell, the man accused of shooting and killing Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers.
Thompson matches a similar descriptions as McDowell. He’s a white man with a beard and tattoos.
Thompson says the night of the shooting he was at his uncle's house and he went outside to check the fire.
"Next thing I know I had a dog on my arm and about 10 cops beating me up," Thompson explained. His arms are severely scratched up with what appears to be claw marks.
Thompson lifted his shirt to show bruising on his ribs. He says he was put in handcuffs and then taken to UF Health where he received stitches in his lip and ear and treatment for his broken ribs.
Nassau County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Ashley Spicer confirms a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office K-9 attacked Thompson, but she says JSO believed him to be a person of interest because they saw him run and hide after the shooting.
"They accused me of being in the van and stuff," Thompson said. "Then they finally found out the truth and turned me loose at the hospital. They took the handcuffs off me and told me to leave."
Thompson says he was in the hospital for two days and only released once JSO cleared his name.
Thompson says said he hopes police find McDowell before someone else has to pay for it.
"I hope they catch the guy to be honest with you because he will hurt more people, innocent people. It don't matter. I believe he will hurt anybody," said Thompson.