The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Leigha Simonton, has announced that Nathan Donald Pelham, a defendant in the United States Capitol breach case, has been charged with a federal firearm crime. Pelham allegedly fired multiple shots towards law enforcement officers just days before his first court appearance. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas charged him with possession of a firearm as a felon through a criminal complaint.
On April 19, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Toliver. Pelham was previously charged with four misdemeanor counts by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in connection with his involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6th.
An FBI agent notified Mr. Pelham on April 12, 2023 that he had been charged by federal prosecutors in DC and directed him to surrender himself on April 17, which he agreed to do. On the same day, a relative of Mr. Pelham called the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office to report that he had a gun. The Sheriff’s Office conducted a welfare check at Mr. Pelham’s residence, and upon arrival, found the house dark. They turned on their emergency lights and Mr. Pelham’s daughter, who is a minor, came out and was placed in a patrol car for her safety. Shortly after, gunshots were heard from inside the residence, and the deputies took cover.
At around 9:38 p.m., Mr. Pelham, who had a criminal record, came out onto his porch and fired shots towards a group of deputies. The deputies could be heard on body-worn camera footage saying that bullets were passing by them. Despite being told to put his gun down, Mr. Pelham continued to wave it around until he went back inside his home. He came out again at 10:46 p.m. and fired multiple shots. Thankfully, law enforcement left the scene at 12:21 a.m. without any injuries. A later search of Mr. Pelham’s home uncovered a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol and four boxes of ammunition, as well as several holes in the walls that were approximately the size of 9mm bullets.
The allegation of wrongdoing against Mr. Pelham in the criminal complaint is not considered evidence. Until proven guilty in a court of law, he is presumed innocent of all charges. If found guilty, he could be sentenced up to 15 years in federal prison for the felony gun charge and three years for the misdemeanor charges. He has been ordered to be detained until the trial in both cases.
The firearm incident was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office and the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Brasher of the Northern District of Texas is prosecuting the firearms case, aided by Special Counsel Brendan Ballou.