UPDATED: Levi Norwood, the Fauquier County teen wanted in the fatal shootings of his mother and younger brother, was apprehended at a Target store in Durham, North Carolina, on Saturday afternoon after he was caught shoplifting hair dye, clothing and a backpack, authorities said.
Norwood, 17, was arrested at about 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, after initially giving the store's loss prevention officers a false name. But it was his short purple hair -- a key part of the description shared widely by police -- that led authorities to connect the teen to the Virginia homicides, said Sgt. James Hartman, spokesman for the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office.
The teen dyed his hair purple in the days before the shooting. His hair remained purple when he was arrested, Hartman said.
Fauquier County Sheriff Bob Mosier and Hartman fielded questions from reporters for about 30 minutes Sunday, Feb. 16 during a 1 p.m. press conference. They were joined by Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Hook and Frank Finn, an associate superintendent with Fauquier County Schools.
Among other things, Mosier revealed that the two victims killed in the Friday night shooting -- Levi Norwood’s mother, Jennifer Norwood, 34, and his younger brother, Wyatt Norwood, 6 -- were shot with a pistol and sustained fatal gunshot wounds to the “upper body.”
Levi Norwood’s father, Joshua Norwood, 37, was also shot in the upper body, Mosier said. The elder Norwood was treated at a local hospital and has since been released, authorities said.
The shootings were reported to law-enforcement officers at about 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, after the elder Norwood arrived at the family’s Midland-area home to find the bodies of Jennifer and Wyatt Norwood lying inside the home, a rambler located in the 12800 block of Elk Run Road in Fauquier County.
A gunman believed to be Levi Norwood then opened fire on Joshua Norwood, who managed to escape from the house and call 911.
On Sunday, Mosier said the investigation determined that Levi Norwood fled the home sometime before law-enforcement officers arrived.
Mosier said Levi Norwood likely used the rural area to his advantage as he ran away on foot through surrounding wooded areas and open fields, possibly hiding at times in barns or outbuildings.
A bloodhound tracked Levi Norwood’s scent for 10 miles to an area around Crockett’s Park, where a 2007 red Toyota Camry was reported stolen at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Mosier said he did not know how Levi Norwood managed to steal the car. The car was found in a parking lot near the Target store where Levi Norwood was arrested and has not yet been searched, Mosier said.
It is not yet known whether Levi Norwood had stashed a weapon in the car but “we anticipate that,” Mosier said Sunday.
Officers set up a barricade outside the Norwoods’ home for about four hours Friday night because they initially had reason to believe Levi Norwood was holed up inside.
When asked why officers waited until 10:15 p.m. to enter the home, Mosier said they shifted tactics when evidence indicated the teen might have left the home.
“We exercised every method we could to determine he was in the house,” Mosier said Sunday. “And when we determined he wasn’t, we shifted.”
Officers had information indicating Levi Norwood was the gunman immediately after the shootings were reported, Mosier said.
Levi Norwood will face his first hearing in North Carolina on Tuesday. The hearing is to determine whether the teen has been assigned a lawyer. The extradition process will likely begin after that, Hook said.
“I feel confident that the judge will ensure he has counsel,” Hook said.
In response to a reporter’s question, Hook said he has not yet decided whether to try Levi Norwood as an adult.
“That is something we’ll have to decide when we get him back to Virginia,” Hook said.
Officials were unable to shed much more light on the Norwood family or Levi Norwood, who is a junior at Liberty High School, a school of about 1,200 students in Bealeton.
Finn said he could not say whether Levi Norwood had a previous discipline or other problems at school because of privacy rules.
No 911 calls had been made from the Norwoods’ home since the family moved in a little more than a year ago. A 911 call logged from the home in 2018 was made before the family moved in, Mosier said.
The home is still being investigated as a crime scene. Mosier said the investigation had not yet determined how many guns were stored in the home or whether any are missing.
On Saturday, a sheriff’s office press release said Levi Norwood had “possible access to numerous firearms” in the home.
Liberty High School, where Levi Norwood was a junior, and Mary Walter Elementary, where Wyatt Norwood was a first-grader, will open to students, parents and staff on Monday, Feb. 17, during the Presidents Day holiday, for counseling services, school officials said after the press conference.
Teachers will also receive assistance to help them handle students’ questions about the shootings. Counseling will also be available to students and staff on Tuesday, when school resumes after the long weekend.
The school board met with school division administrators Sunday morning to discuss those plans, Finn said.
Superintendent David Jeck initially canceled all weekend activities at Fauquier County schools but decided to allow them to proceed after Levi Norwood was taken into custody on Saturday.
Hartman reiterated Sunday that the fatal shootings have been a blow to normally quiet, rural Fauquier County.
“It’s a huge tragedy for this community,” Hartman said.
Saturday, Feb. 15: Levi Norwood, the Fauquier County teen wanted for the fatal shootings Friday night of his mother and younger brother, was apprehended in North Carolina on Saturday in connection with a shoplifting incident.
Norwood, 17, was arrested after store employees reported a shoplifter to police, said Sgt. James Hartman of the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office.
The stolen 2007 Toyota Camry police suspected Norwood was driving was also recovered at the time of his arrest, Hartman said.
Sheriff’s detectives were on their way to North Carolina by late Saturday afternoon, Hartman said. The sheriff's office has not yet disclosed where in North Carolina the arrest took place.
Levi Norwood has been charged in connection with the fatal shootings Friday, Feb. 14, of his mother, Jennifer Norwood, 34, and brother, Wyatt Norwood, a 6-year-old first-grader at Mary Walter Elementary School. Levi Norwood's father, Joshua Norwood, 37, was injured by gunfire.
Fauquier County Sheriff Bob Mosier said Levi Norwood had "possible access to numerous firearms" in his Midland-are home where the shootings occurred. But Mosier declined during a 1 p.m. press conference to disclose what kind of gun was used in the shootings or where it came from.
Levi Norwood is a junior at Fauquier County's Liberty High School, Mosier said.
Mosier conducted the press conference before Levi Norwood's arrest with Fauquier County Superintendent David Jeck at Mary Walter Elementary School.
A search had been underway since Friday night for teen. Police believe he shot and killed his mother and brother and then shot his father, Joshua Norwood, when the elder Norwood arrived home from work to find his wife and 6-year-old son dead from apparent gunshot wounds.
Joshua Norwood managed to escape the home and call 911. Officers arrived at the home, located in the 12800 block of Elk Run Road, at about 6 p.m. Friday. Joshua Norwood was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition Friday night, Hartman said.
For several hours Friday night, police believed Levi Norwood had barricaded himself in the family's home.
"There were indicators at the time that Levi Norwood was still inside the residence with possible access to numerous firearms," according to a Fauquier County Sheriff's Office news release issued Saturday afternoon. "Law enforcement attempted to use different methods to make contact with Levi with no success."
At about 10:15 p.m. Friday, law enforcement made a "forced entry" into the residence to search the interior and surrounding property. The search was then expanded overnight to include areas of nearby woodland, fields, barns and other outbuildings as well as a door-to-door canvass of area homes, the release said.
This effort was assisted by other law enforcement agencies, helicopter units, unmanned aerial systems and K-9 units, the release said.
Bloodhounds led officers overnight to Rogues Road near Crockett Park, where a 2007 Toyota Camry was reported stolen Saturday morning, about 5 miles from the Norwoods' home, Mosier said.
Residents in the area around the Norwoods' home were asked to shelter in place during Friday night's search.
This is a developing story. Stay with the Prince William Times and Fauquier Times for updates.