A family with Hancock County roots is at the center of a Valentine’s Day double homicide in which a teenager allegedly fatally shot his mother and brother, and wounded his father.
Levi H. Norwood, 17, of Midland, Virginia, is accused of shooting to death his mother, 34-year-old Jennifer L. Norwood, and his 6-year-old brother, Wyatt, at their home on Feb. 14. His father, 37-year-old Joshua Norwood, was wounded when he came home with flowers for his wife and found the bodies, said Sgt. James Hartman, a spokesman for the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
Levi Norwood was arrested the next day while allegedly shoplifting at a Target store in Durham, North Carolina. Norwood, who appeared in court in Durham on Thursday, will be extradited to Fauquier County’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to face murder charges in a few days, Hartman said.
The family’s Maine ties include Joshua Norwood’s mother, Virginia Norwood, who lives in Sullivan. Joshua and Jennifer Norwood also lived in Maine before moving to Virginia more than a decade ago. Several family members have come from Maine to be with Joshua Norwood as he recovers from the bullet wound, Hartman said.
“We have met with them and spoken with them,” Hartman said Thursday. “Detectives are working with Joshua and his family as part of the investigation.”
Joshua Norwood described the incident in comment-section postings on a local news website in Fauquier County, fauquiernow.com. Some of those comments have since been deleted, but Norwood confirmed to a local TV station that he had been active in the website’s comment section.
“I opened my door and before my work bag hit the floor I was shot in the head,” he wrote. “Not realizing what happened until I saw blood pouring out I then searched for my family and found Jen and Wyatt dead!”
Investigators have yet to recover the weapon or weapons used in the shootings and don’t know what motivated them, Hartman said. A story in the Washington Post indicated that the shooting might have occurred because Levi Norwood had begun dating a girl who was black and that his father objected, but Joshua Norwood denied that claim in another posting.
Nothing in Levi Norwood’s background appears to indicate that he was threatening or maladjusted, Hartman and Joshua Norwood said.
Several of Levi’s friends said that the teenager was happy and had recently started dating. About the only change in Levi Norwood’s behavior was his recent choice to color some of his hair purple, according to the Post.
“The murderer that was once known as my son was not investigated for threats. He was not known as a trouble maker and no red flags for us as parents to know,” Norwood wrote.
The search for Levi Norwood set off a two-state manhunt that involved helicopters, state police road barricades and search dogs. Police found the red Toyota Camry he had taken from a driveway 10 miles away from his home in the parking lot in the Target, Hartman said.
The car was stolen from Virginia after the owner left the keys in the ignition, Hartman said.
Police had surrounded the Norwood home for several hours after getting a tip that Levi had barricaded himself inside, but when they forced their way in, he was gone. Officers later learned that he had run off well before they got there, Hartman said.
Joshua Norwood had until recently worked as a sales representative, and Jennifer Norwood was a licensed nurse’s assistant, according to media accounts. Norwood asked people to avoid speculating online and to remember who has been lost.
“It’s so unreal and hasn’t even hit me fully yet. I feel ashamed even posting online given what’s going on, it just helps to talk about my amazing wife and incredible son,” Norwood wrote. “RIP Sweet chunky baby, RIP Jen aka Babe.”