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Jan. 6 Defendant Who Fired Gun At Law Enforcement Sentenced To Prison

A Texas man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after prosecutors said that he fired multiple rounds at local law enforcement, despite initially agreeing to surrender for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack in Washington.

Nathan Pelham, 41, on Wednesday was sentenced to 24 months, with 76 days of credit for time served, after pleading guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon during the April shooting at his Greenville home.

Pelham was facing four misdemeanor counts for entering the Capitol ― charges that were later reduced as part of a plea deal ― when authorities said he opened fire on law enforcement who were responding to a welfare check at his residence.

Nathan Pelham (center) was sentenced on Wednesday to two years after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm as a felon.
Nathan Pelham (center) was sentenced on Wednesday to two years after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm as a felon.

Nathan Pelham (center) was sentenced on Wednesday to two years after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm as a felon.

Pelham’s father had called police to report that his son was threatening to kill himself. This threat followed Pelham previously agreeing to surrender on the misdemeanor charges that day.

Responding law enforcement officers reported hearing bullets “whiz” by them outside of his home, said a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

A later search of his property recovered a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol and four boxes of ammunition. Police also found “several 9mm sized holes in the walls,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

“For their own safety, police left the property that night, and let Pelham sleep off his drinking,” prosecutors said.

More than 24 hours later, Pelham surrendered at a local police station following negotiations with police and his defense attorney, prosecutors said.

This image from U.S. Capitol Police video shows a man identified as Pelham, circled in red, appearing at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
This image from U.S. Capitol Police video shows a man identified as Pelham, circled in red, appearing at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

This image from U.S. Capitol Police video shows a man identified as Pelham, circled in red, appearing at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Pelham agreed to cooperate with FBI agents as part of a plea deal, though prosecutors later said that he was “evasive, and at times dishonest, on both fronts” during the investigation, prompting them to request a “meaningful sentence.”

“Pelham’s lies spanned multiple interviews and years and seem to be part of a pattern of behavior,” they said in a court filing. “Pelham’s endangerment of himself and others in the community, and his refusal to take responsibility suggests that a meaningful sentence is warranted.”

Pelham had an extensive criminal history prior to the 2021 Capitol riot, including for theft, evading arrest, using false identification, burglary, unauthorized use of a vehicle, driving with an invalid license, assault and bail jumping, according to court documents.

“Pelham does not meaningfully respect the law,” prosecutors said. “His standoff with police prior to arrest, and his repeated lies to law enforcement collectively suggest that Pelham will do or say what he believes is necessary for his own advantage.”

Pelham’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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