After firing the first gunshot of his life on Christmas Day into his son's chest, pastor Kirk Caldwell dropped to the ground and cradled his 21-year-old child's dying body, according to court documents.
In the moments before the shooting, Caldwell's son, Jordan, had been brandishing a knife and hitting and throwing family members - including his father - around during a Christmas gathering of 15 to 18 people at the Caldwell home in Darby Borough, police and court documents said.
Arrest documentation for Kirk Caldwell, who was charged with first-degree murder and related offenses in the wake of his son's death, sheds light on what led a man of God to shoot his son on Christmas Day.
Caldwell, 43, a plumber and pastor at the End Times Harvest Mission in Philadelphia's West Oak Lane section, was in bed when several of his seven children came into his room and told him that his eldest son, Jordan, had just hit a girl and stole her car, the arrest affidavit said.
They told him the girl had a large bruise on her face and was crying on the front porch of his home, on Ridge Avenue near Main Street in Darby.
When Caldwell got downstairs, he saw his son "punching, hitting and throwing other family members around the house," court documents said.
Caldwell tried to calm Jordan down, but instead, Jordan threw him to the floor, a move which he believed may have broken or dislocated his shoulder, he told police.
Kirk Caldwell retreated to his bedroom to change out of his pajamas but before he could, he heard someone claiming that his son was armed with a knife, a weapon that was "very common" for Jordan Caldwell to carry, according to court documents.
In response, Caldwell grabbed his .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, went downstairs and pointed it at his son, ordering him several times to stop, the affidavit said.
But Jordan Caldwell kept coming forward and when the young man reached into his pocket, Caldwell "just pulled the trigger," according to court documents.
After that single shot, Caldwell dropped the gun and ran to hold his son, who had fallen to the floor, police said.
When police arrived about 2 p.m., they found Jordan Caldwell on the front porch and his father in the front doorway of the home holding a gun, according to court documents.
Caldwell was taken into custody without incident and waived his rights, choosing to speak freely with police, the affidavit said.
He told police that he'd never fired a gun before and that he "just can't believe that this is happening," court documents said.
Caldwell was later charged with first- and third-degree murder, criminal homicide, simple and aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.
He was remanded to Delaware County Prison in lieu of $2 million bail.
The bail, even at such a steep amount, is an unusual move in a first-degree murder case in Pennsylvania, where it's typically said that first-degree murder is an unbailable offense.
District Judge Edward Christie, who presided over the arraignment was not available to comment on the bail yesterday. Darby police referred questions about the bail to Christie and the Delaware County District Attorney's Office.