Watsontown man pleads no contest to shooting trooper

May 10—SUNBURY — A Watsontown man could face up to 32 years in state prison after pleading no contest to shooting a state trooper in an April 2023 incident in the borough.

Hunter Shaheen, 20, of East 4th Street, Watsontown, originally faced two felony counts of attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer, pleaded no contest to felony aggravated assault on a police officer, and drug charges in front of Northumberland County President Judge Paige Rosini, who said she would take the plea under advisement.

Shaheen was represented by attorney George Lepley, of Williamsport.

Shaheen shot at and struck a state trooper in a 2023 incident in the borough, police allege. The injured trooper suffered a non-life-threatening leg wound during the exchange of fire, police said. Shaheen was 19 at the time of the shooting.

The trooper was cleared of the shooting by former Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz.

State police said the trooper was assisting a Watsontown Borough police officer in response to a reported domestic dispute.

Officers arrived at the East 4th Street home and spoke to Shaheen's relative, who said the teen was involved in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend and that he left on foot and was holding a firearm, police said.

Watsontown Police began to look for Shaheen and also discovered the teen had a .44 caliber handgun and had multiple firearm cases inside his bedroom, police said.

After police were unable to locate Shaheen, they requested assistance from the state police, according to court documents. Watsontown police were eventually directed to the area of 8th Street Drive, near the intersection with Merrill Drive, in Delaware Township, Northumberland County, police said.

When the individual was identified as Shaheen, police approached him and the teen allegedly took off running to an adjacent field, police said.

According to police, Shaheen was holding a handgun and a witness overheard law enforcement give Shaheen commands to drop the firearm. Shaheen proceeded to fire an unknown number of rounds at the trooper, and the trooper was struck by one round in the area of his upper leg, police said.

The trooper then returned fire to stop Shaheen from shooting and Shaheen was struck and fell to the ground while the trooper retreated to his vehicle to attend to his own wound, according to court documents.

Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney Leslie Bryden prosecuted the case.

Shaheen will be sentenced on July 29 at 1:15 p.m.