A man who admitted to selling a gun to Malik Faisal Akram, the British man who held four people hostage at a North Texas synagogue earlier this month, was charged Tuesday with a federal firearm crime, according to the Justice Department.
Federal authorities charged Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, on Tuesday with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas said Williams was barred from having a firearm based on previous convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.
“As a convicted felon, Mr. Williams was prohibited from carrying, acquiring, or selling firearms,” U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham said Wednesday in a statement. “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.”
Investigators believe Williams sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13, two days before the gun was recovered from the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. Akram held four people hostage at the synagogue for more than 11 hours on Jan. 15 before they were able to escape. Akram was shot and killed by authorities.
Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said Wednesday that officials have “worked around the clock” to determine how Akram got the weapon he used in the attack.
Investigators linked Williams and Akram following an analysis of Akram’s cellphone records, which showed the two called each other several times from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13, officials said. Williams told authorities that he remembered meeting a man with a British accent, but he said he couldn’t remember the man’s name.
In a later interview, investigators said Williams confirmed he sold Akram the Taurus G2C pistol at an intersection in South Dallas. Williams added that Akram claimed he was going to use the gun to intimidate someone who had an outstanding debt with him, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear how Williams and Akram first met each other.
News of the charge filed against Williams came hours after police in the United Kingdom announced they had arrested two more people in connection with the synagogue attack. Police also arrested two other people last week, officials said.
Richard Hyde, the British consul general for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico, told The Dallas Morning News that it’s not unusual for authorities in the U.K. to make arrests in the aftermath of crimes as serious as the one Akram carried out, though charges aren’t always filed. Hyde said arrests are sometimes made just to collect information.
Authorities continue to investigate.
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