The victims were identified as Jennifer L. Norwood, 34, and her son Wyatt. Jennifer Norwood’s husband, Joshua H. Norwood, came home shortly after 6 p.m. Friday to find his wife and younger son dead of gunshot wounds, said Sheriff Robert P. Mosier. Levi Norwood then shot and wounded his father, who escaped and called for help, officials said. The father was hospitalized and listed in stable condition Saturday, but the sheriff would not provide an update Sunday.
Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the home in the 12800 block of Elk Run Road, just east of Route 17, believing that Levi Norwood had barricaded himself inside. But when deputies entered the home about 10:15 p.m., the teenager was gone, the sheriff’s office said. Officials said he had not taken the family car.
Fauquier mobilized a massive manhunt, using drones, a helicopter, bloodhounds and officers from surrounding agencies, advising residents to shelter in place. But Norwood — described by authorities as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 125 pounds with hair dyed purple — did not turn up.
Then, at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, a Fauquier resident reported his red 2007 Toyota Camry had been stolen overnight from a neighborhood about 10 miles from the Norwood home. Mosier said bloodhounds tracking Norwood indicated he had been in the area, and a lookout was broadcast for the Camry. But the car had been gone for hours, and investigators soon learned that Norwood had spoken to friends about possibly leaving the state.
By 5 p.m., he had been found. Employees at a store called police to report a shoplifter in the sporting goods section, Hartman said Sunday. The stolen Camry was found in the parking lot.
Mosier said the Camry is being transported to Virginia for examination, and could contain the weapon used in the shooting. Guns were stored in the home, but it had not been determined whether any of those guns were used or missing, Mosier said. Wyatt Norwood was a first-grader at Mary Walter Elementary School, where police set up a command post and briefed the media beginning Friday night. Levi Norwood attends Liberty High School in Bealeton. A district wrestling tournament being held at the school was canceled Saturday afternoon, and all activities in the schools were canceled until school reopens Tuesday, said Fauquier Superintendent David Jeck.
Jeck said counselors were being prepared at the county’s schools to help students and staff. “This kind of tragedy is obviously not something that Fauquier County is accustomed to,” Jeck said. “It’s a really, really horrible situation.”
Jeck and Mosier said they did not know whether Levi Norwood had any reported behavioral or health problems. There were no reports of previous 911 calls made from the Norwood home while the family lived there, Mosier said.
Court records show that Joshua Norwood had worked as a sales representative for a company in Manassas, which said he no longer worked there, and Jennifer Norwood was a licensed nurse’s assistant, but records show her license had expired.
Jennifer Norwood’s Facebook page features photos of her sons fishing, pictures of the U.S. flag and news about school fundraisers.
Two friends said Levi Norwood had a girlfriend. Hartman said that the girlfriend had been located and interviewed and that she was not with Norwood.
Adam Moore, 17, a classmate of Norwood since eighth grade, said he saw Norwood in school on Friday morning, and “he definitely didn’t seem sad or anything.” He said Norwood enjoyed hunting, fishing and country music. His family had only recently moved to the house where the violence occurred, Moore said.
Roberto Hernandez, 17, said he met Norwood when they were both 8 years old. He described him as a “nice kid” who was “friendly to everyone” in elementary school. But by middle school, Norwood seemed angry, quiet and withdrawn.
Hernandez said that changed when high school rolled around and Norwood found a group of friends. He was happier and less angry. Last year, Norwood began dating a girl at their school, Hernandez said.
But this week, Hernandez said, after dyeing his hair purple, he seemed on edge.
“One of my friends touched his hair the other day — not, like, to bully him, but just because it was all purple and freshly dyed — and Levi got up and said, ‘If you touch my hair again, I will dislocate your jaw,’ ” he said.
When he heard the news about the Norwood family, Hernandez said, he didn’t think it was real.
“When I heard [a news report] say ‘purple hair,’ though,” he said, “I just thought, ‘Oh crap, that’s him.’ ”
Alex Kim, 16, has known Norwood since the first grade. The two used to take taekwondo lessons together at the studio Kim’s parents own. Though Norwood stopped coming to classes by middle school, Kim said, the two stayed friends.
“Honestly, I saw him this week and he seemed perfectly fine. He seemed like nothing was wrong,” said Kim, a junior at Liberty.
Though some students speculated that Norwood dyed his hair purple as a cry for help, Kim said the spontaneous dye job did not faze him because Norwood had done that before. Once, Kim recalled, Norwood came to school with his hair dyed a bright neon green.
He heard about the shooting while texting a group of friends Friday night. One of them dropped a link to a local news story into the group chat.
“I got super scared, honestly,” Kim said, his voice shaking. “You always hear about horrible stuff happening, but when it’s someone you know, it’s just haunting. It hurts.”
Kim said he wishes he could talk to Norwood, wishes he could ask him why.
“If I could, I would say something like, ‘You’re a good guy. Why’d you do this?’ ”
Moriah Balingit contributed to this report.