Executive Director of a homeless shelter devastated after learning his son killed homeless man who he said raped his girlfriend

STOWE, PA - A 15-year-old boy was arrested for the murder of a homeless man that he allegedly shot last Wednesday, according to reports. Thomas James Niarhos faces first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of 39-year-old Jeremiah Wayland Hawkins.

Niarhos is the son of a Pennsylvania homeless advocate Tom Niarhos, Sr., who was visibly upset when he learned of the incident.

Thomas told police that he shot Hawkins in retribution for raping his 16-year-old girlfriend. The incident allegedly happened in the Pottstown area.

It was reported that Thomas shot the vagrant using a weapon that belonged to his father. The 40 caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun was located near the Pottstown scene.

Ironically, Tom works at Pottstown Beacon of Hope, which is a non-profit homeless shelter. The advocate commented that no one at the Beacon of Hope shelter is familiar with Hawkins.

“The only comment I have is that it was [a] tragedy, and my prayers go out to [Hawkins’] family,” Tom told reporters with the Daily Mail.

Once arrested, Thomas told police that Hawkins had raped his girlfriend four months prior to the shooting, according to authorities.

According to Daily Mail,“Pottstown Police investigated the accusations at the time but received no cooperation from the girl’s family, and her mother told police they did not wish to press charges.” 

Police stated that Thomas confronted Hawkins about the incident, and at that point, the homeless man attempted to attack him with a tire iron. It was then that the youth shot the homeless man point-blank range.

Court documents obtained by the Montgomery Daily Voice state that Thomas screamed at the police, “He's a rapist don't feel sorry for him,” before they placed him into custody.

According to police, the teenager had been discovered loitering near the spot of the fatal shooting back in July. It is reported that he told police at that time that Hawkins had raped his girlfriend near a trash dumpster.

Apparently, the youth returned to the same spot before Thanksgiving with the handgun that he was able to obtain from a locked safe. The two parties got into a physical altercation, and the shooting occurred.

After discharging his weapon once at Hawkins, who then fell to the ground, Thomas fired a second shot, at close range into the victim's face, killing him.

Police arrived after receiving reports of the incident and discovered the teenager being restrained by bystanders. At this point, he started yelling at the police to not help the fallen man because he was a rapist.

Thomas was taken into custody, along with the weapon discovered at the scene.

Tom has been director of the homeless center for the past three years and was reportedly devastated at the entire incident.
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Notwithstanding his culpability in the shooting, it takes guts for a 15 y/o to confront a near-40 y/o man, apparently defending his girlfriend's honor. It wasn't smart. But, he's 15, an age of confusing hormone surges, infatuations..... Looking back, way back (I am 76), the only way I would have confronted a grown man is out of fury, with one of my dad's sidearms in reserve. We don't know how big or small the two are. Maybe he's a 250lb 15 y/o, and his victim weighs 100lbs less and is/was in poor condition. So much we don't know.

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