On the Hunt With the U.S. Marshals

US Marshals

"From everybody that we've interviewed or talked to, he's going to either fight or run. So I want to emphasize that."

The caution comes from a U.S. marshal briefing his heavily armed colleagues in a parking lot before a fugitive takedown operation in the Atlanta area.

Kicking down doors, chasing criminals, fighting if they have to: For the marshals, the urban soldiers in the nation's oldest law enforcement agency, it's all part of the job.

And today's marshals are at the forefront of a new strategy increasingly used by police across the country to reduce crime. By implementing fugitive task forces, the marshals are targeting repeat offenders who terrorize neighborhoods. In Atlanta, violent crime has dropped nearly 32 percent and murders almost 22 percent in the four years since a regional task force started.

VIDEO: Nightline
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The law enforcement officers continue to discuss Douglas Parker, a Georgia man wanted on charges of aggravated assault of a police officer, escape and attempting to elude authorities.

If a suspect runs, it adds another dimension to the situation.

"The last thing we want is for a fugitive to do is run, especially if it's in a car because it's like the fugitive has a 3,000-pound bullet," Danny Doyle, a Fulton County police officer on the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, told ABC News.

The marshal leading the briefing adds that in his high school days, Parker "was big on steroids, so he's a big, stocky guy." But they believe he's moved on from the drugs he allegedly did in the past. Now, "he's supposedly doing meth and smoking crack at the same time," the marshal said.

The marshals and police fan out in a dozen cars, using the latest technology -- which they requested ABC News not describe -- to track the suspect in what amounts to a roving daytime dragnet.

The police suspect Parker has been stealing cars all week and is believed to be driving a white Nissan compact.

Within two hours, the marshals narrow the suspect's whereabouts to a square mile area.

The goal, said U.S. marshal James Ergas, the supervisory inspector of the service's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, is to locate the car and pressure the suspect into a place where authorities "can effectively either pin his car or get him out on foot."

The technology zeroes in and one of the marshals sees someone who resembles Parker. But there's a twist. The suspect is not in the car police were looking for.

Over their radios, the marshals hear that the suspect is driving a Honda, with license plates that authorities determine to be stolen from a Jeep.

The chase is on. And the suspect speeds off. "Come on guys, he gunned it," says a voice on the radio.

'We've Got Him

The chase turns dangerous, as Parker appears to race past two kids walking down the street.

Of Parker's near miss of the children, Cmdr. Keith Booker says, "Total disregard for everybody else. He's only worried about himself."

Then, it's all over. Across the radio: "He just wrecked. He just wrecked."

"We've got him."

Parker had allegedly tried to run from the car, but the authorities tackled and Tasered him.

In Parker's car, authorities say they find a loaded gun, suspected drugs, stolen license plates, merchandise and cash. The marshals believe they have ended a one-man crime spree.

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