A former Houston police officer stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6—and then lied to authorities about his participation in the insurrection, according to federal prosecutors. Tam Dinh Pham, an 18-year veteran with the Houston Police Department who tendered his resignation on Thursday, was charged Tuesday with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Prosecutors allege Pham initially told federal agents he was in “Washington, D.C. from January 5 – 7, 2021 for business reasons,” according to a criminal complaint. “He stated that he briefly attended President Trump’s rally on January 6, 2021, but initially denied going to the Capitol building.” But when federal authorities asked if they could look at pictures on Pham’s cellphone, agents “noticed there were no photos in the album for the dates that Pham had traveled to Washington, DC.”
When agents asked Pham if they could check out his deleted photos, the complaint states Pham agreed. The album showed “pictures and videos that were readily identifiable as being of the interior of the Capitol building,” the complaint states. Pham then allegedly admitted that he climbed over a fence and walked around some barricades to enter the Capitol after President Donald Trump’s speech to “see history.” After entering the Capitol, Pham said he “went into the Rotunda, where he looked at the historical art on the walls and took photographs and videos inside.” The officer admitted he “remained inside of the Rotunda for 10-15 minutes before he left, and that he did not return to the Capitol,” the complaint states.