Reams charged as an adult
SUNBURY - Teenager Naheem Jahad Reams was charged Friday afternoon with 31 criminal offenses, including six felonies of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor of driving under the influence of marijuana, in relation to a June 5 high-speed chase that ended when he was shot by a city police officer on Chestnut Street near Front Street.
Reams, 17, was charged as an adult. He was brought before Magisterial District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum about 2:45 p.m. No media were present at the time, but Apfelbaum said later Reams commented during his arraignment that he had no one to be angry at but himself.
Reams, whose last known address is 800 E. Chestnut St., Shamokin, was committed to Northumberland County Prison in lieu of $750,000 bail. He was charged by Trooper Ron Zanella of state police at Stonington.
The defendant, who spent 20 days in Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, for treatment of wounds to his abdomen from the shooting, is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday before Apfelbaum.
In addition to the six counts of aggravated assault and DUI offense, Reams faces two felony counts of fleeing or attempting to elude police, two misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, two misdemeanor counts of accidents involving death or personal injury, and summaries of limitations of backing, careless driving, reckless driving, driving upon a sidewalk (two counts), driving under suspension, operating a vehicle without proper inspection, two counts of driving the wrong way on a one-way street, three turning violations and six stop sign violations.
Brian Wheary, operations commander at the prison, said Reams will be housed separately from the general population and undergo several evaluations. He said the teen was very quiet and didn't cause any trouble upon his arrival at approximately 4 p.m.
Northumberland County Chief Probation Officer Michael Barvitskie, who was present for the 30-minute arraignment, said Reams told authorities he fled from Sunbury police during the early morning hours of June 5 because he didn't want to be placed in foster care or Northwestern Academy in Coal Township.
"We took the best interests of the teen into account by making sure he received the proper treatment at North Central Secure Facility in Danville prior to his arraignment and incarceration," Barvitskie said. "All the probation officers involved in this delicate case did a fantastic job."
In addition to Reams, Barvitskie, Zanella and Apfelbaum, also present for the arraignment were three juvenile probation officers, two other troopers and Reams' grandmother, Cynthia Tiebout of Sunbury.
"He (Reams) was very respectful to the judge, probation officers and police," Barvitskie said.
Officers back to work
Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo, who said he was unaware of Reams' arraignment when contacted late Friday afternoon, said his department continues to take seriously death threats made to his officers after the shooting. He said all three officers involved in the incident have since returned to administrative duties, the last one - the officer who fired the shot - just a couple weeks ago. Mazzeo declined to identify the officers involved, citing safety concerns.
When asked if he felt the charges vindicated the officer who shot Reams, Mazzeo replied, "You have to check with state police. They did the investigation. I know our officers will continue to perform in a professional manner."
Trooper Matt Burrows, public information officer for the Pennsylvania State Police at the Milton station, was unavailable for comment Friday about the charges filed against Reams.
Rosini previously said the officer who shot Reams was justified in his actions because he was protecting himself and preventing a felon from fleeing the scene.
Police said Reams intentionally rammed a cruiser with an officer inside, that he sped backwards at a high rate of speed and struck the door of a cruiser, causing an officer to hit his head on the door, and then, after ignoring police demands to get out of his car, revved his engine and shot forward in his car at a high rate of speed toward the officer, who then fired.
Two police cruisers sustained $1,414.07 in the incident and an eyeglass valued at $475 was broken.