Norfolk slept while police were on a manhunt

NORFOLK — Downtown residents were surprised to wake up to an unusually heavy police presence Wednesday morning.

Rumors swirled as people wondered if the Norfolk Police and the Sheriff’s Office might be looking for an escaped inmate.

The Sheriff’s Office went to Twitter to clarify, “No inmates have escaped the jail. NPD is investigating an incident that occurred inside the Public Safety Building.”

According to a news release from the Norfolk Police, two sheriff’s deputies confronted a “suspicious” man in the Public Safety building at 2:30 a.m.

When deputies tried to talk to the man, a fight ensued, a deputy fired his weapon, and the man fled on foot, police said.

The police department posted this photo on Twitter asking residents for help finding the man.

Police took the man, later identified as Jeffrey A. Owens of Williamsburg, into custody a few hours later at MacArthur Center while Norfolk Police Bomb Squad cleared a bag left inside the Public Safety Building.

Owens, 58, was taken to Sentara Norfolk General hospital to be treated for what police described as “non-life-threatening” gunshot wound.

He is charged with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer. Authorities said Owens will be taken to jail after he’s released from the hospital.

The manhunt caused blocked roadways and limited public transportation for commuters.

The Public Safety Building will stay closed while police continue the investigation.

Authorities didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Lucretia Cunningham is a multimedia journalist at Southside Daily covering hyper-local stories in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Her stories focus on public safety, tourism, and city government. She is a Virginia transplant and military spouse originally from Chicago. Lucretia also served on active duty from 2006 to 2016 and started her journalism career as a broadcaster in the Virginia Air National Guard. When she’s not covering stories on the Southside, she’s covering stories with her Air National Guard unit.