Sunbury police seek stabbing suspect

By Francis Scarcella The Daily Item

SUNBURY — Police are searching for a city man who is wanted in connection with a scuffle that turned into a stabbing that left a man with gashes in both knees that required four staples to close, authorities said.

Joseph Rice, 23, of 634 Susquehanna Ave., is the subject of a manhunt after police said he entered a home in the 1100 block of Susquehanna Avenue early Sunday morning and allegedly attacked a man. Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo said Rice and the victims know each other.

Rice is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 125 pounds, police said.

“We are actively looking for Mr. Rice and will use all available resources at every level of government to catch him,” Mazzeo said.

Rice is charged with four felony charges, including burglary, two counts of aggravated assault and criminal trespass, as well as several misdemeanor offenses.

“This appears to be a conflict confined to these two individuals,” Mazzeo said. “At this point, the issues appear to be confined to them and not a random act. It appears to be a targeted event, and we would ask for the public’s help if anyone knows where he is to call us at (570) 988-4539.”

The incident began Saturday night when Rice allegedly began telephoning the home but not making any sense, so the man at the house told him to quit calling. However, Rice continued to call the dwelling, police said.

Rice later showed up in the back yard, and the man in the home said he could see that Rice had a silver folding knife in his right hand, according to court documents.

A woman in the home went outside and tried to calm down Rice and get him to leave, police said. Instead, Rice pushed past her and ran into the home, where the altercation took place, court documents said.

After a few minutes, Rice left the property, police said.

After the fight was over, the man inside the home noticed his knees were bleeding, court documents said. He went to Sunbury Community Hospital, where he received three staples in his left knee and one in his right knee to close the wounds.

The man told police that Rice continued to call him while he was in the hospital. When he returned home, the man said Rice was standing in the middle of Julia Street with a tire iron in his left hand and another object in his right hand while yelling before fleeing the area, court documents said.

Shamokin District Judge John Gembic is handling the charges because Sunbury District Judge Ben Apfelbaum is on vacation.

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