CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A Christmas day barricade situation ended in an unusual manner after the East Vincent Township SWAT team used a different tactic — singing a Christmas carol. The incident began when family members called police to the home of 34-year-old Nathaniel Lewis, a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Authorities say Lewis was behaving erratically due to separating from his wife. When police arrived, they found out that Lewis had a gun and the SWAT team was called in to help diffuse the situation.
An hours-long standoff ensued with Lewis firing at police officers from a second-story bedroom. Bullets struck the sides of an armored police vehicle, a civilian’s vehicle, and a nearby home.
“We were putting our kids to bed around 9 and heard what we thought was a firework,” said neighbor Megan Flynn.
Megan and Matthew Flynn said a SWAT team rushed them and their kids into a basement, saying they were responding to a barricade situation with their neighbor.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan says police initially conducted a wellness check on Lewis after his wife asked for a separation. Lewis refused to come out of the house, and then took his rifle, firing some 20 shots at officers outside.
Nearly nine hours later, Lewis demanded a negotiator sing him “White Christmas.” Four verses later, Lewis came out.
“This is as close to a Christmas miracle as you’re gonna get. Everybody got to go home to their families that day. The SWAT team got to go to their families. The defendant was taken into custody, but he wasn’t killed,” said Hogan.
Lewis was taken into custody at 7 a.m. on Wednesday. He has been charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and other offenses.
He is being held at the Chester County Prison.