SWAT Negotiator Sings 'White Christmas' to End Nine-Hour Standoff

A Pennsylvania man who barricaded himself inside his home on Christmas night and shot at SWAT officers 11 times during a standoff, finally surrendered after nine hours when a SWAT negotiator sang "White Christmas."

Authorities on Thursday said they received a call Tuesday night from the estranged wife of Nathaniel R. Lewis, a 34-year-old East Vincent Township man, for a wellness check after distributing what she called erratic behavior.

The Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team arrived at the home around 10:30 p.m. and a negotiator used the wife's cell phone to call Lewis. The affidavit for probable cause of his arrests states that the negotiator tried to resolve the situation with talks of a peaceful surrender, but Lewis replied with his intentions of "killing police and shooting up the neighborhood," according to Philly.com.

The response team heard gunshots ring out from a second-floor window, and then another single shot from inside the home around 12:45 a.m. Then, at 6:05 a.m., Lewis fired from the second story again, striking an armored vehicle. Police fired back with a single shot.

Lewis fired at the police again at 6:11 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., with police returning fire each time, according to the affidavit.

Then, around 7 a.m., Lewis asked the negotiators to sing a Christmas song. As the negotiator began crooning "White Christmas," Lewis left his home and surrendered to police.

"The SWAT team members deserve the highest praise for their courage and dedication. While the rest of the world was going to bed after a long Christmas day, our officers were laying their lives on the line for hours in the bitter cold," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, ABC6 reports.

Lewis, a member of the National Guard was charged with 11 counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and other related offenses.

East Vincent Police Chief Matt Williams said diffusing situations like the Christmas night standoff is why his crew prepares and places themselves in harm's way.

"Incidents like this are why our SWAT team trains constantly," said Williams, who is also the SWAT team leader. "Despite the extreme danger to the police officers, the team responded calmly and professionally, resulting in the eventual surrender of the defendant."

The affidavit states police searched Lewis' home and found a rifle, shell casings on the second floor and two magazines in the master bedroom. The type of weapon used in the assault was not reported.

Police booked Lewis into the Chester County Prison after he failed to post bail. A preliminary hearing for Lewis will be held on Jan. 7, 2019.