EMT inside hijacked Houston FD ambulance hailed as a hero

Friday, July 23, 2021
EMT inside hijacked Houston FD ambulance hailed as a hero
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The gunman accused of taking the ambulance, with an EMT and a patient inside, is in custody. The first responder's actions are being praised.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An armed man was able to force a Houston Fire Department ambulance off the road on Friday before hijacking it and fleeing police with two people inside, according to investigators.

It all began around 2:30 a.m. when a 16-year-old girl was hit by a car as she crossed Fairdale Street near Chimney Rock. The car took off and firefighters from Station 2 arrived at the scene to get the girl to the hospital.

The drive was fairly normal until they approached the South Loop and Beechnut around 3 a.m.

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said Brandon Warren somehow pulled his car in front of the ambulance, got out, and fired several shots on the highway.

He then forced the firefighter driving the ambulance out of the vehicle, jumped in and sped away.

LISTEN: Gunman radios dispatchers while fleeing with EMT and patient inside HFD ambulance

Houston police provided the booking photo of 43-year-old Brandon Warren, who is accused of hijacking an ambulance with a patient and EMT inside.

As the ambulance made its way onto Highway 288 and the Southwest Freeway, the EMT, who was attending to the patient in the back, realized something was wrong and checked on the driver.

That's when she found out Warren had hijacked the ambulance, police said.

Warren reportedly threatened the EMT with the gun, but authorities said she worked to keep everyone calm during the ordeal.

"She de-escalated the incident by essentially not panicking," Peña said. "She remained calm throughout the incident."

The EMT alerted dispatchers who were able to track the ambulance as HPD responded.

Officers pursued the ambulance across southeast Houston before the driver headed west and made his way into the southwestern part of the city.

Houston police were able to force Warren to stop the ambulance on Southwest Freeway at Weslayan before he gave up. Officers took him into custody on the freeway.

No one was harmed, and the girl onboard was able to be moved to another ambulance before finally being taken to the hospital. Investigators believe Warren was clearly incapacitated.

Court records show he had two arrests in Harris County before this incident.

He was last charged with evading arrest 15 years ago and served 44 days in jail. The only other incident was an arrest for possessing marijuana 11 years ago. He is now facing multiple felony charges.

Warren was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon along with felony evading arrest.

WATCH: Breaking news coverage of hijacked ambulance on Eyewitness News This Morning

It's important to note that while Warren is under arrest, the driver that hit the 16-year-old is still out there somewhere. That hit-and-run started the bizarre chain of events.

Meanwhile, both firefighters involved in the incident are being hailed as heroes.

The engineer operator of the unit at the time of the theft is an 18-year veteran of the department. The EMT who was inside the unit as it was hijacked has had at least 10 years of service with HFD.

Later, Friday afternoon, Peña expressed being grateful that the innocent people involved in the incident were not hurt. He said in a statement:

"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."

Eyewitness News is following the fallout from the hijacking and chase. For updates, follow Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and Charly Edsitty on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram.