Utica man charged in Watertown shooting incident also faces gun possession charge in Lewis County

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Jun. 20—LOWVILLE — A Utica man charged Thursday by Watertown police with shooting a gun at another man faces an additional gun possession charge stemming from his apprehension in Lewis County on June 8.

Benji Reed, 41, is charged by Lewis County sheriff's deputies with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a traffic stop on Kirschnerville Road in the town of New Bremen. A passenger in the vehicle, Amy L. Deem, of Croghan, is also charged with felony counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as two misdemeanor counts of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.

According to the Lewis County Sheriff's Office, the agency received information that Mr. Reed was wanted by the state Division of Parole and the Watertown City Police Department as a suspect in a shooting incident that occurred July 13 during an argument at 913 State St. in Watertown.

During the investigation, sheriff's deputies were assisted by the Lewis County Drug Task Force, the Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force, state troopers and parole officers and federal marshals. The sheriff's office said Mr. Reed's vehicle was spotted June 8 at a residence on Soft Maple Road and as he left the residence, his vehicle was halted on Kirschnerville Road. He was taken into custody without incident.

A search of his vehicle allegedly uncovered a loaded 9mm handgun in a handbag on the backseat floor board. Deputies said a small quantity of individually packaged cocaine was found in the front passenger section of the vehicle, along with a set of digital scales and packaging for drugs, resulting in the drug charges against the passenger, Ms. Deem.

Mr. Reed is additionally charged by Watertown police with first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. It is alleged that he discharged a firearm at another man in Watertown. No one was injured in that incident.

He is being held at the Lewis County jail.

Mr. Reed is an ex-convict, having twice been sentenced to state prison terms. According to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, he was most recently released under parole supervision for 2004 convictions in Oneida County for second-degree attempted murder and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was released from prison in October 2020 after serving nearly 16 years.