Carjackings have skyrocketed across the nation in the last year, but on Friday one man hijacked a Houston, Texas Fire Department ambulance with the patient and EMTs still inside.
The incident occurred around 3:00 a.m. in the Meyerland neighborhood of Houston according to KHOU, when an EMT was driving the ambulance with another EMT and a patient in the back. HFD Chief Samuel Peña said that was when 43-year-old Brandon Warren allegedly began shooting at the vehicle, forcing it to stop.
An armed Warren pointed his gun at the EMT who was driving and forced him to exit the vehicle, according to Peña.
The emergency worker who remained in the back of the ambulance with the patient began to realize that something was not right when the ambulance started traveling in the wrong direction. When she looked through the window into the front of the car, she saw someone else driving, according to KHOU’s conversation with Peña.
Warren then allegedly pointed his gun at the EMT in the back cab of the vehicle. During the ordeal, Warren even tried to use the ambulance’s radio, saying he was “driving the ambulance, trying to talk to somebody”.
Thankfully, police were able to track the ambulance via GPS and safely recovered the vehicle, the EMT, and the patient inside. Warren was then taken into custody.
Southwest and Southeast officers just recovered a stolen HFD Ambulance at Southwest Freeway and Weslayan. HFD was transporting a patient to the hospital when a car ran the ambulance off the road and took the ambulance at gunpoint. One firefighter was left on the side of the road. pic.twitter.com/Ip5DRcjP5q
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) July 23, 2021
Peña offered high praise to the EMT who he said was able to “deescalate” the situation and did an “outstanding job.”
“This is not part of their jobs — to be kidnapped, to be assaulted at gunpoint, but it definitely has become a risk of the job. We’re very thankful that everybody is okay, but it’s not acceptable for our firefighters and EMTs to be assaulted when their job is to go out there and make a positive impact,” Peña remarked on Friday, according to KHOU.
Thankful both @HoustonFire fighters and patients are safe. 🙏🏽
— Chief Samuel Peña (@FireChiefofHFD) July 23, 2021
“Above all else, I am thankful that our firefighters and the patient involved in this incident are safe and unharmed. The brazen nature of this attack on our firefighters is deeply concerning, and an overarching message should be clear that attacks on our first responders will not be tolerated. We have afforded every Critical Incident Stress Management resource to our firefighters and will wait for feedback from our staff psychologist before we allow official access to these employees. We thank the Houston Police Department for their quick assistance and thank all men and women of the HFD and HPD for the incredible work they do each day,” Peña said in a later statement.
The motive for the crime is not known at this time, but Peña noted that there is “something definitely wrong about this” and the perpetrator “should not be out on the street”.
The patient in the back of the ambulance was a 16-year-old who was the victim of a hit and run, according to ABC13. Another ambulance was called to the scene and she was immediately transported to the hospital. The driver who hit the young girl is still at large, ABC13 reports.
Brandon Warren, who already had a criminal history, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, and felony evading arrest upon his arrest at the scene.
Carjackings have reportedly exploded across the country in the last year by more than 100% in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis and more than 343% in Washington, D.C.
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