UPDATE: ECSO identifies suspect arrested in abduction, sexual assault in Escambia County, FL

Northwest Florida
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UPDATE (3:05pm) 

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office released the name of the man arrested Tuesday in connection with an armed carjacking and reported sexual assault. 

Deputies say Joshua James Edwards, 37, is currently behind bars at the Escambia County Jail. 

He was captured behind a shopping center near the Walmart on Blue Angel Parkway. 

During that time, deputies had the Walmart evacuated due to the report of Edwards having locked himself inside the men’s bathroom, but after reviewing security footage, deputies found that Edwards had left the store a minute prior to their arrival. A search perimeter was set and shortly after, deputies say Edwards came out of a wooded area near the shopping center where he was eventually arrested. 

The gun he used in the armed carjacking was also found near the area, according to ECSO. 

Deputies say he’s a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang.

UPDATE 12:10 P.M.

Deputies say they’ve made an arrest. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office plans to hold a news conference at 3:00 p.m. to release more information.

Authorities say the man was captured behind a Verizon near the Walmart.

ORIGINAL STORY

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla (WKRG) — Deputies say just before 11 pm last night, a woman at the Circle K on New Warrington and Jackson Street was approached by a white man in his 40s, around 200-240 pounds, and armed with a handgun. The man then abducted her and stole her car.

Authorities say he sexually assaulted her, then released her at Bill Dixon park just before 8 am Tuesday morning. Shortly after 8 am, deputies got reports of a person matching that description in a truck dropping off a person at the Walmart. The person in the truck was described as acting weird.

Deputies arrived at Walmart but did not find the suspect. Deputies say surveillance video shows the suspect left Walmart at 8:37 Tuesday morning.

Authorities are now trying to find the man. They say he is a white man, middle-aged, around 240 pounds. He has a tattoo on his left wrist and possibly a religious symbol on his forehead.

The deputies got reports of an armed gunman that could potentially be in Walmart, causing temporary evacuation of the store. 
For about 30 minutes, deputies worked with the employees to search the store but did not find the man.
 

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