A SWAT Team member in Pennsylvania ended a long night of negotiating with a man who had barricaded himself in his home on Christmas by simply singing him a Christmas Carol.
Yes, he didn't need to rush in and shoot and kill the man nor did he need to issue threats despite that in this case, deadly force could have been used justifiably. He simply sang a Christmas carol.
Around 9 pm, a SWAT team left their families on Christmas night and responded to the call of an armed barricade at the man's home. The man has been identified as Nathaniel Lewis, a member of the National Guard.
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.
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.
Apparently, negotiations took place between police and the man for roughly 9 hours while he shot at them and around the neighborhood.
Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan posted what happened on Facebook:
Over a long and cold night, they kept negotiating with the man, who eventually started shooting at the police and around the neighborhood. A SWAT negotiator finally talked him into surrendering at 6:00 a.m. this morning by singing a Christmas carol for him. You can’t make this stuff up. The DAO was called out to assist in the investigation. I brought Christmas cookies for some cold and tired SWAT team members. This being SWAT, they ate the cookies, made fun of each other, and went home to their families, quietly satisfied with a job well done. All of Chester County says thank you. More news on criminal charges tomorrow.
Around 6am on Wednesday, the SWAT negotiator convinced Lewis to surrender, singing him a rendition of "White Christmas."
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.
Christmas and other holidays are difficult for many in our society. Often their difficulty results from lost loved ones or loneliness. This is not to justify such criminal behavior. However, I'm simply writing this to encourage us all to reach out to one another in these times to let people know we love and care about them. Perhaps, even invite that lonely person you know will spend Christmas or another holiday all alone over to your home for dinner. Share the same love God did when He sent His only Son into the world to save sinners.
I say, well done to the officer that negotiated the surrender and for those willing to leave family in order to try and contain the situation!
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