HOUSTON – A man faces multiple charges after police said he hijacked an ambulance at gunpoint Friday with a patient and emergency medical technician inside.
The man, identified as Brandon Warren, 43, faces charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated kidnapping. Though Warren did not appear in court Friday night, a judge set his bond at more than $1.5 million -- $500,000 for aggravated kidnapping, $500,000 for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, $500,000 for aggravated assault and $50,000 for evading arrest. The judge added that Warren poses a huge risk to the community.
Firefighters said their ambulance was along the South Loop near Beechnut around 3 a.m. and in the process of traveling to take a patient to the hospital when a car stopped in front of the ambulance.
Firefighters said Warren pointed a gun at the EMT who was driving, forced him out, and got inside the ambulance with the patient and a veteran EMT in the back. Police said Warren had fired rounds from his gun but not toward anyone.
Houston police say this man hijacked an ambulance on the way to the hospital at gunpoint with a patient and EMT in the back. It happened around 3am along the south loop. HPD got the suspect to pull over on 610/SW Freeway. @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/UUb5dJPEq2— Taisha Walker (@KPRC2Taisha) July 23, 2021
Police said the EMT driver was able to call for help, along with the EMT that was still inside the ambulance. They said the veteran EMT looked up and noticed that her partner was no longer behind the wheel. Chief Samuel Pena said Warren pointed a gun at a female firefighter several times but kept calm and deescalated the situation all while tending to the patient. He said at some point, Warren even got on the ambulance’s radio and manipulated it.
Both firefighter EMTs called for help, allowing dispatch to track the stolen ambulance until police arrived and got Warren out of the ambulance on the Southwest Freeway near 610.
“We immediately were following him. Our operation center and dispatch knew exactly what was going on and we were able to track the ambulance at all times,” Deputy Chief Isaac Garcia with the Houston Fire Department said. “It does appear that HPD was able to stop the member. He did appear to surrender peacefully, from what I’ve been told. He got out and one of the police officers took the ambulance off the freeway to where we see right now.”
Investigators said both firefighter EMTs and the patient are all fine but are still shaken up. The patient was transported to the hospital by another ambulance.
Chief Peña said his primary concern was the safety of his firefighters and he’s relieved the situation did not end tragically.
“This is not part of their jobs to be kidnapped, to be assaulted at gunpoint,” said Chief Peña. “But it definitely has become a risk of the job. I’m very thankful that everybody is okay but it’s not acceptable.”
Warren, who visibly had trouble standing on his own, was transported to a hospital by ambulance. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and felony evading arrest.
On Friday, Pena released the following statement regarding the stolen ambulance:
“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.”