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Press Release

U.S. Capitol Breach Defendant Charged in Texas After Firing Handgun Towards Law Enforcement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

A United States Capitol breach defendant who allegedly fired several shots towards law enforcement days before his first court appearance has been charged with a federal firearm crime, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Nathan Donald Pelham, 40, of Greenville, Texas, was charged via criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Toliver on Wednesday, April 19.  

On Tuesday, April 11, Mr. Pelham was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with four misdemeanor counts stemming from his alleged participation in the January 6th breach of the U.S. Capitol building.

On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, an FBI agent informed Mr. Pelham he had been charged by federal prosecutors in DC and instructed him to self-surrender the following Monday, April 17. He agreed to do so.

That evening, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office initiated a welfare check at Mr. Pelham’s residence in response to a call from a relative, who advised deputies that Mr. Pelham had a gun. When they arrived, the house was dark. Deputies activated their emergency lights, and Mr. Pelham’s minor daughter exited the home. For her safety, she was placed into a HCSO patrol car. Shortly thereafter, deputies they heard gunshots emanating from the residence and took cover.

About an hour later, at approximately 9:38 p.m., Mr. Pelham – a previously convicted felon – walked onto the porch and allegedly fired towards several deputies, who could be heard on body-worn camera video noting bullets “whiz” by them. A deputy instructed Mr. Pelham to put his gun down, but he continued to wave it until re-entering his home. At 10:46 p.m., Mr. Pelham again exited the residence and fired multiple rounds.

Law enforcement departed at 12:21 a.m. without any injuries.  

A subsequent search of Mr. Pelham’s home revealed a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol and four boxes of ammunition, as well as several 9mm sized holes in the walls.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of wrongdoing, not evidence. Mr. Pelham is presumed innocent of all the charges against him until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison on the felony gun charge and three years on the misdemeanor charges. He has been ordered detained pending trial in both cases.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office and the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation into the firearm incident.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Brasher of the Northern District of Texas is prosecuting the firearms case with the help of Special Counsel Brendan Ballou.


Erin Dooley 
Press Officer 

Updated April 20, 2023

Firearms Offenses