The teenage son of a Pennsylvania homeless advocate has been charged with the murder of a homeless man who he claims sexually assaulted his girlfriend, police say.
Investigators said Thomas James Niarhos Jr.,15, shot Jeremiah Waylon Hawkins, 39, in the face at point-blank range on Wednesday afternoon in Pottstown, the Montgomery Daily Voice reported.
After the alleged shooting, the boy reportedly yelled out, “He’s a rapist, don’t feel sorry for him,” according to court documents obtained by the local outlet.
On July 13, Niarhos was reportedly caught loitering by cops close to where the fatal shooting took place months later, just yards away from the Pottstown Police station. When approached by officers that day, the teen reportedly told officers that Hawkins had raped his girlfriend behind a nearby dumpster.
Around noon on Wednesday, Niarhos returned to the same spot with his father’s .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic firearm, and got into a physical altercation with Hawkins, surveillance footage and a probable cause affidavit obtained by the outlet showed.
“Niarhos is seen extending his arm towards Hawkins, who then tries to knock the gun out of his hands using a bicycle tire,” the Voice reported.
The boy then fired two shots, with the first knocking Hawkins to the ground, and the second one killing him, police said.
Upon arrival to the scene, cops say they discovered a group of witnesses restraining Niarhos, while he shouted, “He’s a rapist, don’t feel sorry for him,” and “He raped a 15-year-old girl, don’t help him.”
Niarhos’ girlfriend, now 16, and her mother, were contacted by Pottstown Police on July 13 after hearing about the rape accusation. While court documents revealed that the girl told her mother that “something had happened to her,” the family did not press charges.
The owner of the gun, Niarhos Sr., is the executive director of Pottstown Beacon of Hope, an organization that assists “Pottstown residents experiencing homelessness,” according to its website.
The father told police that his son was apparently planning to turn to a life on the streets, reporting that “he found a note in his son’s bedroom indicating that his son planned to run away and located a packed bag of clothes and a cellular phone charger in his son’s bedroom,” the affidavit said.
The local outlet reported the boy had “only been living with his father since the start of the summer.”
Niarhos Jr. was charged as an adult with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, possessing a firearm by a minor, possessing an instrument of crime, and other charges.
He is being held without bail at the Montgomery County Youth Center, and his next court date is set for November 30.