HOUSTON — A Houston man is accused of hijacking an ambulance at gunpoint Friday with a patient and emergency medical technician inside the vehicle, authorities said.
Brandon Warren, 43, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and felony evading arrest, KHOU reported.
Early Saturday, a judge set bail at $1.55 million for the four felony charges, according to KTRK. Warren, who did not attend the hearing, is being held in a mental health unit, the television station reported.
At about 2:30 a.m. CDT Friday, a 16-year-old girl was hit by a car and was being taken to an area hospital, KTRK reported.
Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña said at a news conference that Warren allegedly fired shots and forced the ambulance to stop, KHOU reported. Firefighters said Warren forced the ambulance driver out of the vehicle and drove away, according to KPRC.
Peña said the other EMT in the back of the ambulance realized the vehicle was not heading in the right direction. When she looked into the cab she saw that someone other than an EMT was driving, KHOU reported.
The driver called police for help, and so did the EMT in the back of the ambulance, Peña said.
The fire chief added that Warren pointed a gun at the EMT, but she remained calm and de-escalated the situation while tending to the injured patient, KPRC reported.
“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,” Houston Fire Department Deputy Chief Isaac Garcia said at the news conference. “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.”
The patient was taken to an area by another ambulance, KPRC reported.
Peña said his main concern was the safety of his firefighters.
“This is not part of their jobs to be kidnapped, to be assaulted at gunpoint,” Peña told reporters. “But it definitely has become a risk of the job. I’m very thankful that everybody is OK, but it’s not acceptable.”
Warren’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, according to KHOU.
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