Facebook rumor prompts calls to police station

SALEM – City police charged a Youngstown man with obstruction of official business and drug paraphernalia after a foot pursuit through Centennial Park ended Saturday with him being tasered.

The chase attracted the attention of Salem residents and forced police to quell a rumor that there was a shooting in the park.

Officers even posted a message on the City of Salem Police Department Facebook page, noting that “contrary to third party reports on Facebook there was NOT a shooting in Salem last night.”

Maurice Brooks, 26, was charged with the misdemeanors and released on his own recognizance, but the report said additional charges may be pending upon further investigation. He was taken into custody at the intersection of East Pershing Street and South Union Avenue.

Sgt. John Scheets explained that when a taser is deployed, it makes a popping sound, and that is likely what residents heard at the time of the incident shortly after 5:45 p.m. Saturday. A taser fires dart-like electrodes still attached to the device which then attach to the target, temporarily incapacitating the person with a shock.

Scheets said the suspect fell after he was hit with the taser, resulting in him hitting his head on the ground. He was transported to Salem Community Hospital for treatment.

The report said the man identified as Brooks had a clear plastic baggy of an unknown light brown

substance in his hand and a white pill bottle with an unknown white substance was found in his pocket while officers were checking for weapons or contraband.

The call actually began at 5:39 p.m. in the 600 block of South Union Avenue when officers responded to check on two suspicious males loitering in the area. One of the men had knocked at an area resident’s door looking for someone the resident did not know.

An officer had driven through the area five minutes before the complaint was filed and saw a person walking south on South Union Avenue in the 300 block who fit the description of one of the men.

While an officer was talking with a resident, one of the suspicious men was seen leaving a nearby residence and the officer was familiar with him being a resident in the 200 to 300 block of South Union.

When approached by the officer, he said he accidentally went to the wrong residence while looking for a friend who was in the area. When asked about the other suspicious person, he said he saw him walking through the park but denied being with him.

Another officer who was searching for the suspicious men located the other man in the park by the basketball courts, exited his patrol car and identified himself as a police officer, telling the man he needed to speak with him. The man continued to walk away and said he was waiting for a ride.

According to the report, he was told to stop several times and refused, then took off running with the officer in pursuit yelling stop, police. He was eventually caught at East Pershing Street and South Union Avenue when another officer used his taser to stop him.