Man opens fire and carjacks ambulance at gunpoint – stealing it with a patient and EMT in back

HOUSTON, TX – A male suspect reportedly carjacked a Houston Fire Department ambulance at gunpoint during the early morning hours of July 23rd, with officials saying that an EMT and a patient were still inside of the ambulance during the incident.

Authorities say that the carjacking transpired at approximately 3:00 a.m. near the 610 West Loop and Beechnut in the Meyerland area.

Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña said that an EMT was driving the ambulance with a patient and another EMT in the back. As the EMT was driving, an armed assailant, identified by authorities as 43-year-old Brandon Warren, began firing shots and forced the vehicle to stop.

Officials say that Warren pointed a gun at the EMT who was driving the ambulance and forced the EMT out of the vehicle, leaving the EMT on the side of the road.

This all occurred while the patient and other EMT were still in the back of the ambulance, which the EMT in the rear could tell something was off since the vehicle suddenly changed directions.

When the EMT peered through the window that leads to the cab, she saw the suspect driving the ambulance.

At this time, officials say that Warren then pointed the gun at the EMT in the back of the ambulance.

Warren allegedly began using the radio in the ambulance, telling dispatch “I’m the guy driving the ambulance.”

Utilizing GPS to track the vehicle, police had responded along the Southwest Freeway and Weslayan and was able to bring Warren into custody without further incident. Both the EMT and the patient were unharmed during the carjacking.

HPD Chief Peña said that in modern times, while it shouldn’t be the case, incidents like these have “become a risk of the 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.”

Chief Peña added that while he’s grateful that no one was harmed, “brazen” attacks such as these command a response that showcases these sorts of crimes “will not be tolerated”:

“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.”

Investigators have yet to determine what the motive was behind the carjacking of the ambulance.

Warren has since been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and felony evading arrest.

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Back in June, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on officials in Houston releasing multiple bodycam videos related to a deadly officer-involved shooting that occurred back in May. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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HOUSTON, TX – Houston police have released multiple body camera videos of a deadly officer-involved shooting that occurred on May 21 in the city.

At about 1:30 a.m., an officer observed two vehicles speeding and heading south on Gessner Road. The officer followed the vehicles, getting behind a green pickup truck. Officers initiated at traffic stop with the truck along Bissonnet Street.

The officers made contacted with the man and woman inside the truck. The occupants stated that they were speeding to escape the scene of a shooting, where they said a vehicle was firing on another vehicle.

As the officers spoke with the occupants of the truck, a black male walked toward the position from a Shell gas station across the street. The male was later identified as 20-year-old Zaekwon Gullate.

One of the officers, Sgt. Ricardo Rivera walked toward Gullate asking if he needed anything and if he knew the occupants of the truck.

Video from Sgt. Rivera’s body camera show the man continue to walk toward him with his hands in his pockets. Gullate tells the officer, “Shoot me.”

The Sergeant drew his firearm and commanded that Gullate show his hands twice. The officer then asks what is in his hand. Gullate drew a firearm and Gullate ordered him, “Bro, put the gun down.”

Other officers on the scene then turn their attention to Gullate and also begin telling him to drop his gun.

Gullate pointed the gun at officers and fired at them. Rivera and three other officers returned fire striking Gullate.

After Gullate drops to the ground, Sgt. Rivera immediately asks if the occupants of the truck were alright, which they apparently were.

Officers began checking each other to determine if they were hit by Gullate’s shot while Sgt. Rivera maintained cover on the suspect. The sergeant also called for EMS over the radio.

Officers cautiously approached Gullate and secured the firearm. They then began providing medical aid until EMS arrived. Gullate was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The body camera video also included the view from other officers, identified as Officer McLemore, Officer Smajstrila, and Officer Alfaro.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the videos were released within 30 days of the shooting following recommendations from a city task force tasked with making reforms following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

During a news conference held to announce the release of the video, Chief Finner said:

“When there is an officer-involved shooting it’s so tragic for everybody involved, regardless of what happened, so look at it objectively and make sure we have healing in our community and make sure people come to the truth and because different people carry different narratives, that causes problems, that’s what frustrates me.”

“But every person has the right to think what they want to, but we’re going to do the right thing in Houston upon the mayor’s leadership, releasing this and we’ve been saying this and today, it’s here.”

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Elsewhere in Texas, a road rage incident turned deadly in Forth Worth when a man on a motorcycle reportedly pointed a firearm at a man in an SUV with his family – and the driver of the SUV pulled out his own forearm and fatally shot the motorcyclist. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in July. 

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According to reports, the road rage incident occurred last Friday, July 2nd, on I-35 West in Fort Worth, when a 19-year-old man was shot and killed. The incident shut down the road for several hours.  

According to Fox4, after Fort Worth police investigated the incident, they came to the conclusion that the victim, now identified as JaDerek Gray, caused the shooting that killed him.

Police reported that Gray was traveling in between lanes, which is illegal in the state of Texas. The unidentified driver of an SUV attempted to change lanes, and did not see Gray, causing him to swerve to avoid a collision.

This is when Gray allegedly sped up ahead of the SUV and stopped his motorcycle in the middle of the highway, stopping traffic. 

According to reports, Gray walked up to the SUV, pulled out a handgun, and pointed it at the driver. 

Fort Worth Officer Tracy Carter, said: 

“The driver of the SUV asked him to please put the gun down,” 

That’s when police say the SUV driver, who said he had children in the car with him, pulled out his own gun and shot Gray.

Officer Tracy Carter says investigators believe Gray also fired his weapon but did not hit anyone.

Fort Worth police are still investigating what happened. But from what they know right now, they call this ending the worst-case scenario in a road rage situation, Fox4 reported.

Isel Valenzuela, a witness to the incident described the aftermath of the road rage shooting, saying:

“I saw a motorcycle. A green motorcycle speed pass me up between me and the next car. Maybe 10-15 seconds later, I hear four gunshots,” 

He continued:

“I look over and I see him laying there. With blood all on his chest and his stomach.”

Valenzuela reportedly parked his vehicle and ran over to help, noticing a green motorcycle parked on the freeway with the kickstand down about 30 feet behind Gray.

He said:

“I turned off the bike because it was still running,” 

Valenzuela stated that he immediately started putting pressure on the young man’s wounds. Minutes later, firefighters and paramedics arrived.

Gray was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner said Gray died from Multiple gunshot wounds.

Valenzuela is still trying to process what he saw.

He said:

“At the end of the day, he’s still a human being. I would have done it for anybody,” 

He went on to say:

“I don’t know how it went down, but it’s something that at the end of the day could have been avoided and they both could have made it home.”

Police are urging people to use restraint when in situations of road rage.

Carter said:

“When you’re on 35 and you’re on the freeway and you have a disagreement with someone, it’s okay. Let it go. Just keep driving,” 

Fort Worth police say the driver of the SUV has been cooperative and was the first person to call 911. Police say right now the SUV driver has not been charged with anything, and it appears he acted in self-defense.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt


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