Exton Man Charged With Attempted Homicide After Lengthy Standoff With Police

Christopher SmithChristopher Smith (Image via Chester County District Attorney)

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office and West Whiteland Township Police announced the arrest of 47-year-old Christopher Smith, of Exton, for multiple counts of attempted homicide, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, and related offenses. The charges stem from a tense standoff with police on January 10, 2022, when they tried to execute a warrant for Smith at his residence in Exton, and he shot at law enforcement.

DA Deb Ryan said, “This was an intense and dangerous scene where law enforcement was able to diffuse a highly volatile situation. West Whiteland Township Police, West Chester Regional Emergency Response Team, and others are commended for their professionalism. Not only did Smith endanger the lives of law enforcement, but he also jeopardized the safety of the people who live in that neighborhood. Thankfully, no one was hurt. We thank everyone involved for their assistance with this case.”

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West Whiteland Township Police Chief Lee Benson said, “The professionalism, training, and patience of all the officers involved are what led to a successful conclusion to this event. Officers de-escalated this situation despite difficult conditions and kept everyone safe. The West Whiteland Township Police Department thanks all the responding agencies involved and especially the Evian community, which was cooperative and supportive of our efforts.”

The allegations in the complaint are as follows:

Authorities state that on January 10, 2022, West Whiteland Township Police went to the defendant’s Exton residence on Buttonwood Drive to serve a warrant. The defendant refused to exit the home, despite law enforcement’s attempts to contact him via phone and public address system. When the defendant finally acknowledged the police, he threatened to shoot at them.

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After the West Chester Regional Emergency Response Team arrived, they formed a perimeter around the house. They began negotiating with the defendant to get him to leave the residence, but he continued to refuse. Approximately 50 police officers were deployed to the scene to assist. Officers observed the defendant pointing a long gun at the Emergency Response Team’s vehicle parked in front of the residence.

Six hours after the standoff began, the West Chester Regional Emergency Response Team attempted to deploy tactics to force the defendant out of the home. At this time, officers saw the defendant point a long gun, believed to be a rifle, in the direction of ten uniformed tactical officers. The defendant then fired two rounds in law enforcement’s direction.

Shortly after, the defendant was taken into custody.

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The defendant is being held at Chester County Prison after failing to post the $500,000 bail set by Magisterial District Judge John R. Bailey. His preliminary hearing is set for January 20, 2022.

West Whiteland Twp Police are investigating. ADA Kate Wright is the assigned prosecutor.

Information is subject to change at any time. A suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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