A man accused of selling the gun used in the hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue earlier this month has been federally charged.
Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, was charged on Tuesday for being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
According to court documents, Williams — a felon who was previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance — admitted to investigators that he sold Malik Fairsal Akram the gun used during the attack.
Williams allegedly said he sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13. Two days later, authorities recovered the gun from Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, where Akram held four people hostage.
After taking the hostages, Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, who is known as “Lady al Qaeda,” from a federal prison in Fort Worth, which is near the synagogue. He live-streamed part of the nearly 11-hour standoff, which ended with the hostages escaping and a police shootout that killed him.
Authorities say they tied Williams to Akram by looking into Akrams’ cellphone records, which showed a series of calls between the pair from Jan. 11-13.
Investigators reportedly interviewed Williams twice and when they showed him a photo of Akram during the second interview, Williams confirmed he sold him the handgun at an intersection in South Dallas.
Williams told investigators that Akram said he was going to use the gun as an “intimidation” tactic to get money from someone who owed him.
Chad E. Meacham, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement that “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.”
Williams made his initial court appearance on Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renée H. Toliver in the Northern District of Texas. His detention hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.