Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force Arrests Attempted First Degree Murder Suspect

Fugitive Wanted For Shooting in Southeast Gainesville

Gainesville, FL – This morning, the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Willie Eastman, 32, inside an apartment complex near downtown Gainesville. Eastman was wanted by the Gainesville Police Department for (1) attempted first degree murder and (2) possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Eastman was also wanted by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office for violation of probation. On 6/7/14 at approximately 2200 hours, per an investigation by the Gainesville Police Department, Eastman got into a verbal argument with the victim near 2300 East University Avenue. Eastman left the area but then showed up at the victim’s house – located at a second location in southeast Gainesville - about 45 minutes later. The argument continued and Eastman pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the victim, and shot three times but missed.

This morning, Task Force members developed information that Eastman was still in the Gainesville area and likely hiding at a family member’s apartment inside the Oak Park complex located at 100 NE 8th Avenue. Task Force members - including investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office – initiated surveillance in the area and later confirmed Eastman was inside apartment #503. At approximately 11:00 A.M., Task Force members approached this apartment and ordered Eastman to exit at gunpoint. Eastman was placed under arrest and booked into the Alachua County Jail on his outstanding warrants.

Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones praised the work of all the agencies involved in the arrest. “Without teamwork from all of these agencies, a very dangerous fugitive would still be on the loose,” said Jones. “We are thankful that he is now behind bars.”

The Gainesville Division of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force is sponsored by the U.S. Marshals Service and is comprised of investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the Levy County Sheriff's Office, the Marion County Sheriff's Office, the Gainesville Police Department, and the Chiefland Police Department.

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