Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrest of defendant
Nathaniel Lewis for attempted homicide of multiple police officers. Following a
situation on Christmas day where the defendant barricaded himself at a residence in East
Vincent Township, Chester County, the SWAT team responded to the home. During the
course of the barricade, the defendant shot at police officers who were both inside and
outside of a SWAT vehicle. The defendant eventually surrendered to the SWAT team
after a negotiator sang him a Christmas carol.
East Vincent Police Chief Matt Williams, who also is the leader of the SWAT
team, stated, “Incidents like this are why our SWAT team trains constantly. Despite the
extreme danger to the police officers, the team responded calmly and professionally,
resulting in the eventual surrender of the defendant.”
District Attorney Hogan stated, “This defendant is lucky he did not kill a police
officer. The SWAT team members deserve the h
The facts alleged in the criminal complaint are as follows:1
At approximately 9:00 p.m. on December 25, 2018, East Vincent Police went to
the defendant’s residence in East Vincent. The police were responding to a well-being
call from a family member who was concerned about the defendant. The defendant was
in the process of separating from his wife and was behaving erratically.
East Vincent police officers responded to the residence and secured the area. The
police were advised that the defendant had a firearm. One of the Chester County SWAT
teams, the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team, then was called out to
The SWAT team established a perimeter and began to negotiate with the
defendant, attempting to get him to surrender peacefully. The defendant, a member of
the National Guard, was in possession of a rifle. The SWAT team had an armored
vehicle near the residence to protect the police officers. Over the course of several hours,
the defendant started to fire at police officers from inside the residence. The defendant’s
shots hit the armored vehicle with police inside and outside of the vehicle, as well as
hitting another home and nearby civilian car. Police returned fire. Another Chester
County SWAT team, the West Chester Emergency Response Team, was deployed to
assist the first SWAT team.
The defendant later re-established contact with SWAT negotiators. A SWAT
negotiator succeeded in getting the defendant to surrender by agreeing to sing the
Christmas carol “White Christmas” to the defendant. After the song, the defendant
surrendered to the SWAT team and was taken into custody at approximately 7:00 a.m. on
December 26, 2018.
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office was immediately called out to assist
with the investigation of the defendant and perform an independent investigation of the
officer-involved firearms discharge. The Chester County Detectives performed the
independent investigation. The SWAT team members were interviewed and the scene
was processed. The District Attorney determined that the SWAT team members were
legally justified in returning fire when the defendant was shooting at them.
The defendant has been charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide,
aggravated assault, and related offenses. He has been committed to Chester County
1 A criminal defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
District Attorney Hogan added, “We are grateful that nobody was hurt or killed in
this incident. All of Chester County appreciates the sacrifices of our law enforcement
officers, both in times of crisis and every day.”
The assigned prosecutor in this case is Chris Miller. The primary detective is Jim
Ciliberto. Anybody with information about the defendant can contact Detective Ciliberto