Senoia fugitive nabbed in multi-county effort

Shutterstock photo of police emergency lights at dusk.

It required the efforts of law enforcement agencies in counties around metro Atlanta, but in the end Senoia resident Bill Owens, Jr. ended up in custody on June 18.

Currently housed in the Fayette County Jail, the highly mobile Owens, 36, faces a litany of charges from Fayette and numerous surrounding counties.

Sheriff Barry Babb on June 9 said the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Southeastern Regional Fugitive Taskforce (SERFTF) Officer initiated a fugitive investigation seeking 36-year-old Billy Owens Jr. of Senoia. Owens has an extensive criminal history and was wanted on charges in Fayette County as well as several other counties and state probation charges, Babb said.

“The investigation was initiated by the U.S. Marshall’s SERFTF since Owens was wanted by multiple agencies and believed to be highly mobile,” said Babb.

Owens on June 1 fled from Pike County Sheriff’s deputies and stole a vehicle, said Babb. He was not located again until Owens entered Fayette County where sheriff’s deputies initiated a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle from Pike County bearing a tag stolen from Clayton County.

“Owens fled the officer at that traffic stop and ran into the woods,” Babb said. “Clayton County’s helicopter responded to the chase and assisted in seeking the fugitive. Owens was able to again get away from deputies and steal another vehicle, this time in Fayette County. The Fayette County vehicle was later found in Clayton County.”

Babb said it was on June 17 that the U.S. Marshall’s SERFT encountered Owens driving a box truck away from a relative’s home in Woodstock. Owens attempted to flee, and in the process struck a SERFTF task force officer, injuring his arm. The officer, in fear for his life, shot at Owens but did not strike him. The officer was treated at a local hospital and released.

Officers pursued Owens as he sped away in the box truck, said Babb. He drove into a subdivision under construction and eventually into the woods where the truck became disabled. Owens exited and continued the pursuit on foot. The truck was found to have been stolen from Pike County days earlier. Officers utilized numerous resources searching for Owens on June 17, including two aircraft and six police K-9s. Despite the effort, Owens was not located, Babb said.

Then on the night of the June 17, Owens made his way to a Cherokee County Water Dept. facility where he was able to steal a government vehicle. It is believed that he drove the truck to Lamar County where he fell asleep in the parking lot of a church in Lamar, said Babb.

At approximately 7 a.m. on June 18, Lamar County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a suspicious person call at the church, Babb said. When Lamar County deputies attempted to make contact with Owens, he drove away and deputies pursued. Owens again drove into the woods and abandoned the stolen truck.

Babb said Lamar County deputies established a perimeter and enlisted the help of police K-9’s. Multiple agencies responded to Lamar County to assist in the hunt. At approximately 6 p.m. a SERFT officer spotted Owens near a home and took him into custody as he tried to hide under shrubbery.

Much like the hunt for Owens on the June 17, numerous resources were utilized to locate Owens, Babb said. Three aircraft, a fixed wing plane and two police K-9’s contributed to the successful search. Several agencies contributed to the weeks long hunt for Owens including U.S. Marshall’s SERFT, Clayton County Police, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, Fulton County Police Department, Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Woodstock Police Dept., Sandy Springs Police Dept., Georgia Department of Corrections, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

Babb said Owens is currently housed in the Fayette County Jail charged with fleeing and attempting to elude, reckless driving, open container, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, theft by taking, three counts of theft by taking motor vehicle and entering auto.

There are also numerous holds placed on Owens for warrants taken by other agencies, said Babb.