The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 13, 2013

Shot teenager awaiting word about charges

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — The Shamokin teen shot by a Sunbury policeman after a high-speed chase more than a month ago remains detained at a Centre County youth center waiting to hear whether he will be charged with allegedly trying to drive over the officer.

Naheem Reams, 17, was taken into custody more than two weeks ago by the Northumberland County Juvenile Probation Department and appeared before a Northumberland County judge on an unrelated charge in juvenile court. Reams — the first person shot by city police since September 1986 — was sent to Central Counties Youth Center in Bellefonte, where he will remain until police determine whether charges will be filed.

State police at Milton are investigating the June 5 incident in which Reams allegedly led city police on a two-mile chase at speeds exceeding 80 mph.

Three city officers pursued Reams, and one shot the teen in the abdomen after saying Reams tried to run him over on South Front Street. That officer is on paid administrative leave until the probe has been completed.

“The criminal investigation is in the hands of the state police and we are awaiting the results,” Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo said. “We still have an officer on administrative leave pending the decision of the district attorney.”

Having an officer on paid leave for this amount of time is normal during these types of incidents, Mazzeo said.

“This is standard operating procedure,” he said. “We did our own internal investigation as well, but at this point it’s a personnel issue and we don’t release that information.”

The incident began on North Fifth Street around 1 a.m. when police approached a car while clearing the street for a street sweeper.

Reams drove off in a “reckless manner” for no apparent reason, police said.

Police were unaware at the time that Reams had been sought by Northumberland County Juvenile Probation.

Less than 10 minutes after the chase began, Reams was struck by a single bullet on South Front Street.

Two officers have since returned to duty.

Several hours after the incident, Northumberland County 911 received a “credible” threat from a man who claimed he was coming to Sunbury to “shoot seven cops” because his cousin (Reams) was shot.

Mazzeo said the call was traced to a known member of a Bloods gang in Brooklyn, N.Y., and that the threat was taken seriously.