JSO: Man was driving Tennessee fugitive when he was shot by marshal

SUV leads federal agents on high-speed chase down Beach Boulevard

By Vic Micolucci - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A U.S. marshal shot a Tennessee man driving an SUV during a high-speed chase Wednesday afternoon on busy Beach Boulevard on Jacksonville's Southside, authorities said. 

The reason that federal agents were chasing the maroon Chevrolet Tahoe, which was being driven by 20-year-old Gregory Norwood, was because they had a warrant out for the arrest of the passenger, 29-year-old Melvin Owens, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report obtained by News4Jax on Thursday.

Owens, a fugitive from Tennessee, was wanted for aggravated assault, jail records show.

The 5-mile chase began just before 2 p.m. at Beach Boulevard and San Pablow Road. 

When U.S. marshals tried to stop the SUV farther east on Beach Boulevard, one of them fired a single shot into the SUV, hitting Norwood in the arm, the police report said.

RELATED: Suspect shot by US marshals in Southside neighborhood

The SUV kept speeding west -- traveling in the eastbound lanes for a half-mile, forcing drivers to veer out of the way -- then ran a red light before skidding to a stop on Meadowbrook Boulevard, where it spun out, the report said.

A K-9 officer arrested Owens right there. The report said Norwood ran, and was caught in a nearby yard.

Tiffany Thomas recorded cellphone video from her home, where her 12-year-old daughter was inside, as the man was arrested in her front yard. 

"I can't even keep her safe in her own yard, in her own house. That's ridiculous," Thomas said.

News4Jax crews at the scene could see where the marshal shot into the SUV's passenger side. A bullet hole was also visible in the U.S. marshal's SUV's driver's-side window. 

Though the crime tape was down on Thursday, the marks in the pavement could still be seen because the SUV was traveling on the rims after the chase, during which the tires were blown out. 

Norwood, the one who can be seen in the cellphone video, appeared in court Thursday morning with a bandage on his forearm, where he was shot. Norwood is charged with resisting officers, eluding police after a crash and not having a driver's license.

"Had they just stopped the car, got out of the car, followed the commands, probably, this would not have been the case," said Toni Chrabot, a former FBI agent who's worked along U.S. marshals many times.

Chrabot now runs Risk Confidence Group, a security consulting firm, and knows it's a dangerous job. 

"You hope for the best and plan for the worst," she said.

Chrabot said there are still so many things to learn about what happened, and she understands why the federal agents are being tight-lipped -- it's a big investigation. 

"I will say one thing for sure. Nobody wants to be involved in a shooting," Chrabot said. "That is not what somebody shows up in the morning, goes to work -- the intent is to go home at the end of the day."

Both Norwood and Owens were arrested, taken to the hospital, treated and sent straight to the Duval County Jail.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. It said it could take a while to release the findings.

The U.S. Marshals Service has not released any information about the case.

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