(LibertySociety.com) – The son of a homeless advocate was charged with murdering a homeless man in Pottstown, Pennsylvania on November 22. Police arrested James Niarhos, 15, for shooting and killing 39-year-old Jeremiah Hawkins near the Pottstown Police station.
The Montgomery Daily Voice, a local outlet in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, obtained surveillance footage of the murder. The footage shows Niarhos approaching Hawkins shortly before the interaction turned physical. The teenager then appears to hold his arm up toward Hawkins, with Hawkins attempting to knock a gun out of Niarhos’s hand with a bicycle tire.
Hawkins was unsuccessful and Niarhos shot him twice. The first shot subdued Hawkins, but the second shot killed him. Witnesses at the scene restrained Niarhos until the police arrived. When the police approached Niarhos, he yelled, “He’s a rapist, don’t feel sorry for him!” Months earlier, Niarhos told Pottstown police at the same location that Hawkins had raped his 15-year-old girlfriend. The girl’s mother was questioned by police back in July about the alleged rape. The mother said that her daughter told her that “something had happened to her,” but they opted out of pressing charges against Hawkins.
Niarhos’s father heads up the Pottstown Beacon of Hope, which helps homeless residents in the city by providing them with shelter and benefits. When speaking to the police after the killing of Hawkins, Niarhos’s father said that he believed his son was planning to move out and live in the streets. He said that he found a bag of his clothes and a phone charger packed, along with a note that indicated he was planning to leave.
The teen used his father’s gun to kill Hawkins, but his father said he had been keeping it under lock and key. Niarhos moved in with his father just a few months before he killed Hawkins. He is facing multiple charges, including first and third-degree murder, and minor in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to reappear in court on November 30 but was denied bail from the county’s youth center.
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