EAST VINCENT, PA — A nine-hour standoff Christmas night in Chester County ended miraculously early Wednesday morning when a SWAT team negotiator began to sing Christmas carols, District Attorney Tom Hogan shared.
The incident began at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, Dec. 25, when Nathaniel Lewis of Spring City, a member of the National Guard, armed himself and barricaded himself inside his home, authorities said.
Lewis’ wife’s sister had gone to check on him after family members were unable to contact him, according to a criminal complaint. When she arrived, however, he barricaded the front door and fired several shots from his rifle, leading her to flee the scene.
SWAT teams responded, and for the next nine hours, they attempted to negotiate with Lewis.
Lewis threatened to kill police, and went up to the second story of the home and began firing shots at police, the complaint states. Shots hit police cars, neighbor’s cars, and nearby homes, and police returned fire.
It wasn’t until 6 a.m. Wednesday morning when one SWAT negotiator tried a different tactic: singing a Christmas carol.
The carol in question was “White Christmas.” When the song was over, Lewis surrendered to the SWAT team, police said.
No injuries were reported during the lengthy incident. Lewis was charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and related counts, and was booked at Chester County Prison.
A review of police conduct by the District Attorney’s Office revealed they were justified in firing their weapons at Lewis.
If you have any information about Lewis to share with police, contact Detective Jim Ciliberto at 610-344-6866.
Image via Chester County District Attorney’s Office
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