PRINCETON — Charges were pending Monday after a local man found carrying a substance resembling methamphetamine barricaded himself in a church's restroom and started screaming that demons were beating him.

About 10:53 a.m. Sunday, Mercer County 911 dispatched Patrolman E.D. Leftwich of the Princeton Police Department to Rogers Street Community Church about a man running in traffic. The initial call was made by Princeton police Lt. D.A. Weatherly, who was off duty and traveling to church.

"While driving down Rogers Street, I observed a male running from the back of the sewing gallery and trying to wave vehicles down and running across traffic," Weatherly told Leftwich. "I then observed him enter the Rogers Street Church."

Weatherly parked, went into the church and asked the congregation to stay seated. The subject had barricaded himself in the men's restroom and tore the sink out of the wall, Leftwich stated in his report.

The man, identified as Damon Reed, 38, of Princeton, was screaming, "They are beating me. Dear God, the demons are beating me," Leftwich said. Officers entered the restroom and removed Reed, who was "combative."

"Officers used the necessary amount of force to put the suspect into custody. After being cuffed the suspect continued to scream about being 'ripped apart.'"

Leftwich said the damage to the restroom — which included pipes, tiles, the sink, walls and water damage that spread to the women's restroom — cost about $3,000.

Reed was taken to the Princeton Police Department, Leftwich stated. On the way to the station, Reed "suddenly started seizing and vomited blood onto the parking lot. The Princeton Fire Department immediately assessed the suspect and stabilized him. He then turned combative and made animal-like growls and attempted to bite all at the scene. The Princeton Rescue Squad then arrived and started work on the suspect."

After the rescue squad took Reed to Princeton Community Hospital, he "continued to be combative and attempted to bite nurses and was not under control until he was sedated by medication," Leftwich said. "Due to the suspect's medical condition he was transferred into Princeton Community Hospital's Critical Care Unit."

A small plastic bag containing a crystalline substance that resembled methamphetamine was found on Reed, Leftwich said.

Charges were pending Monday while Reed was hospitalized. He was facing charges including disturbance of religious worship, felony destruction of property, simple possession and obstruction of medical personnel.


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