Officer sings Christmas carol to suspect, ending standoff

POTTSTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania police department relied on a song by famed crooner Bing Crosby to end a Christmas standoff with a man accused of firing multiple shots at officers.

Chester County SWAT officers responded to a report Christmas night of an armed man barricaded in a home near Pottstown at about 9 p.m. The man’s estranged wife, who was not in the home, called police and asked them to do a welfare check on him.

Police said Thursday that 34-year-old Nathaniel Lewis locked himself in the home with a rifle and ammunition and fired at police and SWAT officers throughout an overnight standoff with police that only ended when one of the officers sang “White Christmas” to Lewis over the phone.

Officers said Lewis had asked them for a Christmas carol before promising to turn himself in.

Lewis surrendered and was taken into custody. No officers were injured in the standoff, authorities said. Lewis was treated for an undisclosed head injury.

Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan posted about the incident on his Facebook page, saying he took Christmas cookies to the officers to boost morale after the nine-hour standoff.

“I was heading out the door and I told my mom that I was going to have 30 freezing cold, hungry guys, and I grabbed the cookies that were just made the day before and brought them with me,” Hogan said. The carol and the cookies “are fun, but these guys gave up being with their families and put themselves in danger to make sure others could be safe.”

Lewis has been charged with 11 counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related charges for allegedly firing multiple times at officers throughout the night. It wasn’t clear from court records Thursday if he has an attorney. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 7.

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