Brutal Murder of Homeless Man Shot in the Face by Boy, 15, Who Accused Him of Raping Girlfriend, 16, Say Cops

Thomas Niarhos
Thomas Niarhos (above) will be tried as an adult.Facebook

"Police stopped Niarhos, who told them that his girlfriend ZB was raped behind a dumpster near the railroad tracks in the area," says an arrest affidavit obtained by Inside Edition Digital.

A Pennsylvania high school student is accused of shooting a man experiencing homelessness in the face at point blank range in broad daylight.

Thomas Niarhos,15, is now charged with first-degree murder and will be tried as an adult following the death of 39-year-old Jeremiah Hawkins.

The shooting occurred just after noon on Wednesday and bystanders detained Niarhos when he attempted to flee the scene, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.

Mutiple witnesses later told authorities that Niarhos "sought out" Hawkins, while the Pottstown Police Department found a record from July detailing a previous incident involving Niarhos on Jul 13.

"Police stopped Niarhos, who told them that his girlfriend ZB was raped behind a dumpster near the railroad tracks in the area," says an arrest affidavit filed in the case obtained by Inside Edition Digital. "Niarhos told police that a homeless man named 'Jay' was responsible for the rape and he was in the area looking for 'Jay.'"

Later that same day, the Pottstown Police Department reached out to 16-year-old ZB, according to the affidavit.

"ZB's mother told detectives that ZB would only tell her that 'something had happened to her in Pottstown' but she would provide no details of the incident," says the affidavit. "ZB's mother was told that she should take ZB to the Children’s Hospital to have a SANE examination. ZB's mother contacted Pottstown Police detectives the following day and said that they did not wish to pursue a criminal investigation into the matter."

Four months after ZB declined to pursue a criminal case, Niarhos allegedly took matters into his own hands.

Surveillance video shows that on the day of the shooting, "the two males were standing close together arguing, when Niarhos extended his arm toward Hawkins. Hawkins swung a tire at Niarhos, attempting to knock the gun out of his hand, but Niarhos fires a single shot at Hawkins’ face, and the victim falls immediately. Niarhos fired a second time, then dropped the firearm and walked away," said Steele.

In an interview with a detective later that day, Niarhos' father said 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," according to the affidavit.

The suspect's father also told the detective that he owned the weapon allegedly used to kill Hawkins when presented with a photo of the gun found at the scene, according to the affidavit.

Niarhos' father is the executive director at Pottstown Beacon of Hope, which provides assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness in the area. 

In addition to first-degree murder, Niarhos is also charged with third-degree murder, carrying a firearm without a license, possessing a firearm by a minor, and possessing an instrument of crime.

He is being held without bail at the Montgomery County Jail, according to court filings, has yet to enter a plea, and is due back in court on Dec. 7.


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