By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
After a high-speed pursuit that reached 80 mph and ended with police shooting a 17-year-old in the abdomen Wednesday morning, Sunbury officers are concerned about a “credible threat” made to them 18 hours later.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, a man attempted to call Sunbury police but instead reached the Northumberland County 911 center, where a dispatcher said the irate individual threatened to come to Sunbury and shoot seven police officers, according to police Chief Steve Mazzeo.
“You shot my cousin seven times,” the man yelled. “Now I will shoot seven cops. You better transfer my call to a cop.”
The caller asked to speak with police, but when the 911 dispatcher told the caller he had been transferred to the center instead, the man became furious.
“I’m coming from LA to shoot seven cops,” he yelled. “You better tell them.”
The man hung up after the dispatcher tried to get the caller’s name. Mazzeo issued a warning to police departments within a 50-mile radius of Sunbury.
The name of the person to whom the cell phone is registered is a known member of the “Bloods” gang, Mazzeo said.
The cell phone came back with a Brooklyn, N.Y., number and the man has been known to be in Sunbury, where he had been arrested, Mazzeo said. Just because the call was placed from the cell phone doesn’t mean it came from the alleged gang member, Mazzeo said.
Naheem Reams, 17, of Sunbury, who lists his hometown as Paterson, N.J., on his Facebook account, remains in critical condition at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, after he was shot once in the abdomen by an officer using a police-issued .45-caliber Glock and hollow-point ammunition.
The teen led police on a nearly two-mile high-speed chase through city streets early Wednesday and was shot after he rammed the 1997 Saturn he was driving into a second cruiser on South Front Street.
Three officers were involved in the chase, most of which was captured on video surveillance taken by police cruisers, officers said.
What began as a request for car removal during 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.
Around 1 a.m. 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 nearing 80 mph.
While being chased by a cruiser as he traveled 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 Street, where he hit a second cruiser and attempted to run over an officer, police said.
While taking evasive action against the oncoming Saturn, a city policeman then shot through the Saturn’s windshield and struck Reams, officers said. The Saturn rolled over a curb and stopped near the riverfront flood wall, according to police.
State police at Milton are handling the investigation and all three officers are on administrative leave until those results are made official. State police were made aware of the new threat, Mazzeo said.
“This would be treated seriously,” said Det. Steve Leishman, of the Paterson Police Department. “I would never discredit it.”
Leishman, who has been on the force for 12 years, said he has received threats of this nature before.
“(Threats) come in and we make everyone aware,” he said. “I have never seen one of those threats carried out, but we take them seriously.”
As soon as news of the shooting circulated to Valley media outlets, dozens of people began commenting on Facebook and The Daily Item website that they were furious with how police handled the situation.
Some even said they would retaliate against the department.
Several sources close to the situation and to Reams said he has relatives who are active “Blood” members.
Reams is a nephew of Herbert Tiebout, who pleaded guilty to several counts of selling drugs and was sentenced to state prison in 2013.
Tiebout is also awaiting trial for second- and third-degree murder charges after police said he was linked to a homicide near Mifflinburg in 2012.
The threat was so serious that Northumberland County Commissioner Vinny Clausi, who heads the 911 department, was called at 10:20 p.m. because dispatchers were concerned.
“We put the building on lockdown and made sure police were made aware,” Clausi said. “We take this seriously and we will monitor this situation until we get answers.”
Added Mzzeo: “We are taking this seriously. We will be on alert and we will be keeping a close eye on this.”
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