A Savannah murder suspect and a Metro police officer he shot escaped serious injury after a pursuit of a stolen police car ended in a crash and shootout on Interstate 16 Wednesday night.
Anthony B. Parrish Jr., 21, and Officer Rebecca Gregory were transported to Memorial University Medical Center. Both were treated for non-life threatening wounds and released. The officer’s cellphone deflected the bullet that struck her leg.
The crash was preceded by a pursuit in which Parrish had deliberately driven the stolen police car directly at an officer in an attempt to strike him, three times crossed a center line into oncoming traffic and finally crashed into the wood line of I-16 between the Interstate 516 and Chatham Parkway exits.
There he opened fire on a pursuing police car before other officers fired back at him. Westbound lanes of the interstate were closed from 6:45 p.m. until 1:20 a.m. for the investigation.
Parrish already was being sought by Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police who earlier in the day had charged him with the murder of Marray Martin, 20, at a party on Florida Avenue Feb. 24th.
In addition to the murder, Parrish has been charged with hijacking a motor vehicle, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, theft by taking, criminal attempt and criminal attempt at murder, possession of a firearm in committing a crime and fleeing to elude police officers.
SCMPD Central Precinct Crime Suppression and TRAP Units already were scouring the Cuyler-Brownsville neighborhood for Parrish when he and another man stole a 2010 Chevrolet at gunpoint across town in the 800 block of West 33rd Street about 6:35 p.m.
Police quickly located the stolen car and followed it to West 40th Street and Burroughs where Parrish and his accomplice exited and ran in different directions. One officer left his patrol car to confront the other suspect as Parrish circled around a house and jumped into his police car and drove away. He drove the stolen car toward another officer who avoided injury by diving into his own patrol car.
Police pursued the stolen police car east on 37th Street until Parrish turned into oncoming traffic, speeding west onto the I-16 connector and the interstate. There he again crossed the center line three times before crashing into the wood line to avoid tire spikes that police had placed across the highway.
An extensive search for the other suspect was conducted in the area where the Chevrolet had been abandoned. Today, Metro patrol, Canine and TRAP officers along with U.S. Marshals from the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Nathaniel Johnson. He has been charged with being party to the crime of murder, party to the crime of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime. From Wednesday’s incident, he is charged with possession of a firearm in commission of a crime, armed robbery, aggravated assault and hijacking a motor vehicle.
The investigation into the auto thefts, shootings and the homicide as well as potentially other crimes is continuing.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Crimestoppers at (912) 234-2020 or text CRIMES (274637). In the body type, include “CStop2020” plus the tip. Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.
A confidential Tip Line also is open directly to investigators at (912) 525-3124. Callers preferring to speak directly to the detectives without reward potential can arrange private discussions.