Washington, January 27: A man identified as Henry “Michael” Williams has been charged with selling a gun to a British national Malik Faisal Akram who took four people hostages at a Texas synagogue before being fatally shot by the FBI.
United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham said, “Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, was charged Tuesday via criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renée H. Toliver Wednesday afternoon. A detention hearing has been set for Monday, January 31.”
“Federal firearm laws are designed to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands. As a convicted felon, Williams was prohibited from carrying, acquiring, or selling firearms. Whether or not he knew of his buyer’s nefarious intent is largely irrelevant — felons cannot have guns, period, and the Justice Department is committed to prosecuting those who do,” US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement.
“We are grateful to the many officers and agents who sprang into action as soon as the synagogue hostage crisis began, and who worked tirelessly to track the weapon from Akram to Williams. The freed hostages, the Beth Israel congregation, and indeed the entire Jewish community deserve that support.”
“The Dallas FBI Field Office and our partners have worked around the clock since January 15, 2022 to determine how Malik Faisal Akram acquired the weapon he used to terrorize worshipers at Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel synagogue,” said Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “Along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we pledge to continue our efforts to protect our communities from violence.”
According to the complaint, Williams – a felon previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance – allegedly sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on January 13.
Two days later, on January 15, agents recovered the pistol from Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, where Akram had held four individuals hostage for several hours before he was fatally shot by federal law enforcement, the statement said.
It further stated that as part of its intensive investigation into the hostage-taking, the FBI tied Williams to Akram through an analysis of Akram’s cellphone records, which showed the pair exchanged a series of calls from January 11 through January 13.
“When agents first interviewed Williams on January 16, Williams stated that he recalled meeting a man with a British accent, but that he could not recall the man’s name. (Akram was a British citizen.) Agents interviewed the defendant again on January 24, after he was arrested on an outstanding state warrant. After viewing a photo of Akram, Williams confirmed he sold Akram the handgun at an intersection in South Dallas. Analysis of both men’s cellphone records showed that the two phones were in close proximity on January 13,” read the statement.
Williams allegedly admitted to officers that Akram told him the gun was going to be used for “intimidation” to get money from someone with outstanding debt.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Williams is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.