Son charged in assault, SUV theft
COAL TOWNSHIP - State police and officers from three municipalities were involved in taking a Paxinos man into custody Friday morning near the Cameron Bridge after he allegedly punched his father, put him in a headlock and stole his SUV.
Ralpho Township Cpl. Bryon Chowka said Josh Purcell, 27, of 134 Roadarmel Lane, assaulted his father, Donald Purcell, at their home at about 9 a.m. before fleeing the scene in his father's 1997 GMC Jimmy. The victim called Ralpho Township police, and a request for assistance was made to state police, Coal Township and Shamokin police.
Purcell was spotted driving south along Route 61 in Coal Township and was pulled over at about 10:40 a.m. along a dirt access road along Route 225 near the Cameron Bridge.
Police asked Purcell if he had any weapons in the vehicle. Purcell said he had a gun and knives. The gun was later identified as a Ruger Mark II .22 pistol owned by Donald Purcell. The elder Purcell said the pistol is normally locked in a cabinet to which his son does not have access. Josh Purcell doesn't not have a license to carry a firearm, according to police.
A glass pipe used to smoke marijuana was also found in the vehicle and Josh Purcell admitted it was his, police said.
Shortly after Purcell was pulled over, his father arrived at the scene in a state police cruiser operated by Trooper David Townsend and spoke with his son.
Chowka transported Josh Purcell to Ralpho Township Police Department in Elysburg. While in custody, Purcell repeatedly tried to damage leg restraints and handcuffs placed on him, police said. He was told to stop, but did not. When officers attempted to restrain him in a different way, he resisted, police said.
Chowka charged Purcell with felonies of receiving stolen property and carrying a firearm without a license, misdemeanors of simple assault, unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest and a summary offense of harassment. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones of Mount Carmel Friday afternoon.
Bail was set at $50,000 cash for the firearms charge. Purcell failed to post bail and was committed to Northumberland County Prison.
A preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Jones' office.
In addition to Chowka and Townsend, other police assisting at the scene were Coal Township Patrolmen Matt Henrich and Chad Yoder, Shamokin Patrolmen Shane Mowery and Mark Costa, and Trooper Daniel Wilk of state police at Stonington.
The scene, which at one point contained seven police cars, was cleared shortly after 11 a.m.