Details emerge in Duryea incident: Accused shooter picking up friend at party

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Hazelton -

DURYEA — A Scranton teen picking up his friend from a party later shot a 31-year-old man during a disturbance on Stephenson Street in Duryea early Saturday, according to court records obtained Tuesday.

Christopher Stevens, 18, of Old Forge, was invited to a party at a house but was asked to leave because he had a handgun, police said.

So Stevens called his friend, Nathan Thomas Hazelton, 18, of Scranton, for a ride.

When Hazelton arrived, police allege he took the gun, loaded a magazine and aimed it at people, asking who was talking about Stevens.

As Hazelton was waving the gun, neighbor Sean Grady emerged from his house and was shot in the chest, authorities report.

Grady later underwent emergency surgery at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township.

Police said Hazelton surrendered to Scranton police later Saturday.

According to criminal complaints:

Stevens was intoxicated and bragging about a handgun he kept in a bag at the party. The host of the party kept telling Stevens he needed to leave because he had a gun.

Stevens’ girlfriend hid the gun, but Stevens found it.

Stevens then called Hazelton for a ride home.

When Hazelton arrived, he took possession of the gun, loaded it, cocked the slide and aimed it at people, asking who was talking poorly about Stevens.

At one point, Grady exited his house next door, told Hazelton to leave, then was shot in the chest.

Police found Grady in a kitchen and provided treatment before EMTs transported him to the hospital.

Stevens was found walking near the house.

He told police he took the gun from his house by opening a safe with the aid of two butter knives. He claimed he needed the gun for protection because people were after him.

Hazelton sped away after the shooting.

Police, meanwhile, located a spent 9mm shell casing in the home’s backyard.

Hazelton was arraigned by District Judge Brian Tupper in Kingston Township on two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of simple assault, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and firearms not to be carried without a license. He remained jailed Tuesday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $500,000 bail.

Stevens was charged with firearms not to be carried without a license and two alcohol violations. He was released Tuesday after posting $15,000 bail.


By Ed Lewis

[email protected]