ServiceNet to investigate security at Center Street homeless shelter in Northampton after break-in
NORTHAMPTON — ServiceNet will take a closer look at security at the Interfaith Cot Shelter after a homeless man pried open a locked door Friday night looking for a bed and fought off seven officers who attempted to arrest him.
Police responded to the 43 Center St. shelter around 6:15 p.m. to find that Joe Tekeyus Sumpter, 40, had forced his way in after being told by staff that the 20-bed shelter was full for the night.
When officers approached Sumpter, he began swinging at them with both hands, grabbing an officer in the process, Detective Timothy Satkowski said. Sumpter continued to punch, kick and try to tackle other officers who were called to the scene before the lengthy struggle ended in his arrest, Satkowski said.
Sumpter faces nine charges, including five counts of assault and battery on a police officer; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot); resisting arrest; disorderly conduct, subsequent offense; and breaking and entering for a misdemeanor.
Four of the seven officers suffered minor injuries as a result of the altercation. They are all OK, Satkowski said.
A shelter official said the alarming incident will prompt ServiceNet to take a closer look at the shelter’s security.
“The doors are always locked and the fact that it (the door) got broken through is something we will investigate on Monday,” said Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet’s director of emergency shelters in Hampshire County.
Even though the incident was unusual, DeBerry said, “We want to make the shelter more secure for everyone.”
She said the incident shook people up, but most staff and visitors were more interested in putting the altercation behind them.
The Interfaith shelter is an overflow shelter for Grove Street Inn. The shelter provides meals and beds from November through April in the basement of a professional office building next to the police station.