WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney announced that Nathaniel Lewis, 35, of Spring City, PA, was recently found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, possessing an instrument of crime and related offenses after he barricaded himself inside his home, firing dozens of rounds from his semi-automatic rifle at the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team (ERT) and his sister-in-law. The event occurred on Christmas Day 2018 in East Vincent Township after the defendant’s sister-in-law went to his house for a well-being check on him. He will be sentenced at a later date.
DA Deb Ryan said, “The defendant’s dangerous actions imperiled the lives of everyone who was there to help him on Christmas Day in 2018 and could have ended tragically for many families if not for the courageous actions of the ERT. Every member of the ERT is a hero for putting their life at risk for the safety of everyone that long night. Thank you to them, East Vincent Township Police and Chester County Detectives, for de-escalating a dangerous situation to a safe resolution, just as they are trained to do.”
According to authorities, on December 25, 2018, East Vincent Police responded to a well-being check of Lewis at a house on Aftons Circle. Lewis’ wife contacted police after her sister, one of the victims, found the defendant barricaded inside the house.
Investigators learned that when the victim forced her way into the house, she found Lewis sitting on a bed with a rifle. As she turned to flee, Lewis fired four shots in her direction.
The ERT arrived in the early hours of December 26, making contact with Lewis to get him to surrender. During these negotiations, Lewis threatened to kill police and shoot up the neighborhood.
Over the next seven hours, Lewis fired dozens of shots in the direction of ERT members, striking an armored police vehicle once. An ERT member returned fire twice to prevent death or injury to others. No one was injured.
Lewis surrendered on December 26, 2018, after Chester County Detective Jerry Davis sang “White Christmas” to him at his request. Investigators later found spent shell casings and a rifle inside the residence.
Judge Jacqueline Cody presided over the trial. East Vincent Police, ERT, and Chester County Detectives investigated; Chief Deputy District Attorney Michele Frei and Assistant District Attorney Justin Roberts were the prosecutors.
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