Two waive charges from Shamokin fight that injured officer
SHAMOKIN - Two Shamokin men charged in a fight Friday that injured a city police officer waived their rights to preliminary hearings Tuesday and were recommitted to Northumberland County Prison.
Robert Watts Jr., 27, of 625 E. Packer St., and Jack W. Grove, 44, of 918 E. Kase St., were ordered by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III to appear for plea court April 28 at Northumberland County Courthouse.
Watts was charged by Cpl. Bryan Primerano and Patrolman Mark Costa with felonies of aggravated assault, riot, criminal conspiracy to cause a riot, and misdemeanors of simple assault, resisting arrest and failure of disorderly persons to disperse. Grove was charged with riot, criminal conspiracy to cause a riot, resisting arrest and failure of disorderly persons to disperse.
A hearing for Watts' brother, Christopher W. Lloyd, 36, of 627 E. Packer St., Shamokin, who also was involved in the disturbance, was continued because his attorney, county special conflicts counsel Sue Schwartz, was busy representing clients in the Court of Common Pleas in Sunbury.
Lloyd was charged with aggravated assault, riot, criminal conspiracy to cause a riot, two counts of simple assault, resisting arrest and failure of disorderly persons to disperse.
Watts was represented by public defender Melissa Norton. Grove waived his right to an attorney.
Costa, who attempted to break up the fracas, suffered injuries to his knees and hand during the 12:41 a.m. incident in the 500 block of North Shamokin Street near Snapper's Bar. Costa's police jacket was also torn in the altercation.
Upon arriving at the scene, only a block away from the police station, Costa and Cpl. Bryan Primerano spotted Lloyd and Watts arguing in the middle of Spurzheim Street. Witnesses told police Lloyd had been causing a disturbance and chasing a female at Snapper's.
While Primerano was attempting to speak with Lloyd and calm him down, Watts reportedly yelled, "Leave my (expletive) brother alone," and attempted to stop police from speaking with him.
After police repeatedly advised Lloyd and Watts to calm down and leave the area, Grove approached the officers and attempted to separate them from his two friends, according to the criminal complaint.
Police said Lloyd staggered away from police, walking north on Shamokin Street.
After Primerano told Lloyd he was under arrest and attempted to handcuff him, Watts came up behind Primerano and interfered with the arrest, according to police. At this point, Costa told Watts he was under arrest. Police said Watts then pushed Costa away and resisted arrest when the officer attempted to handcuff him.
Costa tackled Watts to the ground while Watts attempted to punch the officer in the face and chest while tearing his coat. Police said Watts continued to fight as Primerano attempted to handcuff him. Lloyd and Grove then came to help Watts and became aggressive toward the officers, prompting Costa to deploy OC spray on all three men.
Assisting Costa and Primerano in the arrest of Lloyd, Watts and Grove were emergency medical technicians from AREA Services Ambulance, Coal Township Patrolmen Chris Lapotsky and Matthew Hashuga and Ralpho Township Officer Chris Grow.