By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — A week after a wild police chase that reached speeds of up to 80 mph and ended with a 17-year-old being shot in the abdomen, the teen is improving slowly, according to Geisinger officials.
Naheem Reams, 17, of Sunbury, who lists his hometown as Patterson, N.J., on his Facebook account, is reported in serious condition in Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, after he was shot in the abdomen by a city officer using a police-issued .45-caliber Glock and hollow-point ammunition.
Reams has undergone surgery and was placed in a medically induced coma, according to hospital officials.
Reams led police on a nearly two-mile chase through city streets early last Wednesday and was shot after he rammed the 1997 Saturn he was driving into a second cruiser on South Front Street, police said. Three officers were involved in the chase, most of which was captured on video surveillance taken by police cruisers, officers said.
Reams is sitting up and talking to friends and relatives, according to his Facebook account, but when The Daily Item attempted to reach Reams, Geisinger officials said they would not allow the newspaper’s representatives to speak with Reams while he was a patient in the facility.
“It’s soo gooood to see you actually movinnnn & talkinnnn,” a Facebook friend posted.
Another friend posted, “Just another update on Naheem ... His surgery went well today. He has the tube out if his throat, and he is doing awesome. He is still very weak and tired, though. He needs a lot of rest and has a long recovery ahead of him. Visitors have been limited to family until he is out of the ICU. Keep praying. The family is touched by everyone’s love and support. Thank you all very much.”
Sunbury police turned over the investigation to state police at Milton, and on Monday, trooper Matt Burrows said the investigation is ongoing and would not say whether charges would be filed against Reams.
City Police Chief Steve Mazzeo declined to comment on the investigation but said all three officers are on paid administrative leave.
What began as a request for car removal during routine street sweeping unfolded into Sunbury police shooting a suspect for the first time since Sept. 3, 1986, when city officers killed a gunman on Market Street.
At about 1 a.m. last Wednesday, city police were clearing streets for sweepers and approached Reams in the 400 block of North Fifth Street to ask him to move his vehicle, officers said.
Reams, who was behind the wheel of a Saturn that was not registered to him, fled in a “reckless manner,” police said, traveling in the wrong direction on one-way streets often at speeds topping 65 mph.
While being chased by a cruiser as he drove the wrong way on Chestnut Street, Reams turned onto South Front Street, where he encountered and struck a cruiser, police said. The teen continued on South Front, where he hit a second cruiser and attempted to run over an officer, police said.
While taking evasive action against the approaching Saturn, a city policeman shot through the car’s windshield and struck Reams, officers said. The Saturn rolled over a curb and stopped near the riverfront flood wall, according to police.