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Jan. 6 aftermath

Jan. 6 defendant facing misdemeanors charged with felony after firing on Texas deputies

A Dallas-area man who entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, fired at Hunt County sheriff's deputies outside his home a few days before he had agreed to surrender to the FBI to face misdemeanor charges, according to court papers unsealed Thursday. Nathan Donald Pelham, 40, was taken into custody on Monday and charged with four misdemeanors for illegally entering the Capitol, then charged Tuesday with possessing a firearm as a felon, which is itself a felony offense. 

Pelham faces up to 15 years in federal prison on the firearms charge and up to three years for the Jan. 6-related misdemeanors, The Dallas Morning News reports. He was barred from possessing a gun due to a 2003 Texas felony conviction, court papers show. 

Federal authorities interviewed Pelham after he was denied entry into Canada in March 2021, and he admitted he had been at the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, court records state. The FBI launched an investigation, Pelham was indicted on the four misdemeanor charges in Washington, D.C., on April 11, and the FBI called him April 12 to tell him he needed to surrender on April 17. Pelham agreed, federal prosecutors say. But on April 12, Pelham's father reported that his son had a gun and was suicidal.

When sheriff's deputies arrived at about 8:40 pm, Pelham's daughter came out to seek safety, deputies heard gunfire inside, then about an hour later Pelham walked out on the porch and fired several shots toward the deputies, prosecutors say. He allegedly came back out at about 10:45 and opened fire again. Nobody was injured by the gunfire, though one deputy reported that a bullet grazed him so closely "I could hear the distinct whistling sound as the bullet traveled by me." The FBI searched his house on Tuesday and found a 9mm pistol, four boxes of ammunition, and several bullet holes in the walls.

Pelham is "one of more than two dozen North Texas defendants charged in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection," the Morning News reports. More than 1,000 people have been charged in relation to the Capitol siege, 541 of them have pleaded guilty, and 445 have been sentenced, with sentences ranging from seven days to 10 years, NPR News reports.