Fugitive search continues in Woodstock
by Michelle Babcock
June 18, 2014 12:55 AM | 4489 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Billy Owens
Billy Owens
WOODSTOCK — The search continued late Tuesday night for a fugitive police said was “extremely armed and dangerous,” after federal Marshals tried to arrest Billy Lee Owens, 36, earlier in the afternoon.

Officers and K-9s scanned the woods Tuesday evening, they said, for the fugitive, who was wanted on outstanding warrants, including burglary, gun charges and narcotics.

“Owens has an extensive criminal history with several convictions for violent crimes and narcotics,” said U.S. Marshal Gavin Duffy, who asked for the public’s help in finding the man.

Owens is described as 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 220 pounds, with tattoos on his arms, his right hand, chest and back.

When U.S. Marshals Service officers tried to arrest Owens at about 3 p.m., he allegedly attempted to run over an officer, and at least one shot was fired at the suspect by law enforcement, sources close to the investigation said.

The suspect then fled, Duffy said, eventually crashing the stolen box truck he was driving into the woods of the neighborhood adjacent to Arnold Mill Elementary School in Woodstock.

Owens then fled on foot into the woods behind the Millstone Manor neighborhood.

“It’s an active fugitive situation,” Duffy said Tuesday. “The suspect has an extensive criminal history and he has gun charges with some violent charges in the past.” He was wanted on outstanding warrants from Pike and Fayette counties, Duffy added

Duffy said the suspect was thought to still be within a few miles of the elementary school in Woodstock.

“We catch everybody. It’s only a matter of time,” Duffy said.

Law enforcement vehicles were posted every few blocks for about two miles on Arnold Mill Road in the area where the fugitive was believed to be.

A woman who was a passenger in the suspect’s truck was taken from the scene for additional questioning by Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputies at about 6 p.m.

The fugitive had fled from officers, traveling at high speeds down Arnold Mill Road, according to witness Ethan Andrews, 21, who lives within a few hundred feet of where a law enforcement task force congregated at Arnold Mill elementary.

“My mom saw. She was driving north on Arnold Mill, and she saw them coming at her at about 100 miles per hour,” Andrews said while he waited for updates from law enforcement at the school. Andrews said he wanted to stick around to make sure his community was safe. “There was a truck. she said once the truck flew past, about 15 or 20 unmarked vehicles came after him.”

Andrews said the suspect “ditched the truck and went into the woods.”

John P. Jones lives at one of the last houses inside the Millstone Manor subdivision, where the suspect crashed his truck into the woods and fled on foot.

Jones was cutting the grass in his backyard between 2 and 3 p.m. when his wife told him what was happening.

“They came speeding up the street,” Jones said. “A deputy was all skinned up, from his elbow to his wrist and they were pouring water on it, and it was bleeding.”

Jones said the suspect’s truck was “about a half a block into the woods.”

“The car jumped the curb, went over the small pines,” he said. “They said he was a white male, about 175 pounds.”

Jones said he and his wife locked their doors.

“They said he almost ran over a deputy or a Marshal,” Jones said. “It happened in some other place, then the chase happened and they ended up here.”

Duffy said the suspect was already getting into a truck when U.S. Marshals arrived to arrest him on warrants.

“He was getting into a vehicle when we arrived, and he fled in the vehicle. We were able to relocate that vehicle where he went into a wood line,” Duffy said.

Duffy declined to comment on possible shots fired, and said there was an active investigation ongoing by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Vehicles from many agencies were working on the investigation and search for the fugitive, including Woodstock Police, Fulton County Police, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service and unmarked law enforcement vehicles.

A Fulton County Police helicopter sat in the Arnold Mill Elementary School parking lots for hours Tuesday afternoon and evening, awaiting deployment.

Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers of Atlanta tip line at (404) 577-TIPS.

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