By Steven Henshaw Reading Eagle, Pa.
EAST VINCENT TWP., Pa. — A Chester County man fired on police officers during a 10-hour standoff at his home Christmas night, then surrendered after a SWAT negotiator sang him a Christmas carol, authorities said Thursday.
Nathaniel Lewis, 34, of East Vincent Township has been charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related counts. He was committed to Chester County Prison without bail pending a hearing.
The standoff began about 9 p.m. Tuesday in the 300 block of Aftons Circle in East Vincent Township and continued until after daybreak Wednesday.
"This defendant is lucky he did not kill a police officer," District Attorney Tom Hogan said. "The SWAT team members deserve the highest praise for their courage and dedication. While the rest of the world was going to bed after a long Christmas day, our officers were laying their lives on the line for hours in the bitter cold."
According to authorities:
East Vincent police went to the home for a well-being check after receiving a call from a relative of Lewis' who was concerned about him. Lewis was said to be in the process of separating from his wife and was behaving erratically.
Police were advised Lewis had a firearm so they took precautions, calling one of the county SWAT units, the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team, to assist.
The tactical team surrounded the area and negotiated with Lewis to surrender. Lewis, a National Guard member, had a rifle.
The tactical team positioned an armored vehicle near the home to protect to officers.
After several hours, Lewis fired the rifle from inside the house. Some of the rounds hit the armored vehicle while police were inside and outside of it. Other rounds hit another house and a parked car owned by a nearby resident. Police returned fire.
Another SWAT unit, the West Chester Emergency Response Team, was sent to assist the first tactical unit.
A negotiator persuaded Lewis to surrender after agreeing to sing "White Christmas" to Lewis. At the conclusion of the song, Lewis surrendered and was taken into custody about 7 a.m. Wednesday.
©2018 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.)