Houston man shoots at first responders trying to help him
The paramedics immediately radioed for help from police but wrestled the gun away from the man on their own
Jay R. Jordan
HOUSTON — A man accused of shooting at firefighters who were trying to help him later lied to police about having buried a body in his west Houston yard.
Houston paramedics were called to check on the man along Sela Lane in Alief around 9 a.m. Wednesday. When they showed up, David Pham was brandishing his chihuahua and a gun.
The 66-year-old opened fire, police said.
The paramedics immediately radioed for help from police but wrestled the gun away from the man on their own, according to the Houston Fire Department. No one was injured by the gunfire, and it was not immediately clear if Pham was shooting at the firefighters or not, Houston Police Department Homicide Detective Mark Holbrook said.
Officers put the man in handcuffs and in the back of a police cruiser. That's when he told them he had buried a body in the backyard of his home, which was along Ridgeside Drive in a nearby neighborhood, Holbrook said.
Officers and homicide detectives rushed over to the home and couldn't immediately find a body, although Holbrook said experts with the Houston Forensic Sciences Center are helping to look more thoroughly in the backyard.
Crews dug up the backyard and couldn't find anything, Holbrook said. Holbrook said Pham appeared to be going through a crisis and later told police he was joking about the body in his yard.
Pham will be charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault of a public servant, according to Houston police.
He was arrested for assaulting a public officer with a rock in 2001 but the charge was dropped, court records show.
"Defendant suffers from mental illness," according to a Harris County District Attorney's Office motion to dismiss the case. "Restitution was paid to Harris County for damage, defedant gave letter of apology to complainant."
He was arrested again in 2015 for unlawful carrying of a weapon and selling liquor to a minor in 1999. Both were misdemeanors.
Staff writer Nicole Hensley contributed to this report.
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