Feds charge man who allegedly sold firearm to Texas synagogue hostage taker

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Law enforcement process the scene in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue
Law enforcement process the scene in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue


Federal officials charged a 32-year-old man suspected of selling a firearm to Malik Faisal Akram, who before being shot by law enforcement held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue for hours on Jan. 15.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad Meacham announced on Wednesday that Henry "Michael" Williams had been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the complaint, on Jan. 13, a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol had allegedly been sold to Akram by Williams, a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The complaint also noted that Williams is a felon and had previously been convicted for attempted possession of a controlled substance and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Akram and Williams had reportedly called each other between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13. Williams, who was interviewed by agents twice, later allegedly confirmed that he had sold a firearm to Akram after he was shown a picture.

"Federal firearm laws are designed to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands. As a convicted felon, Mr. 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," Meacham said in a statement.

The Associated Press said email and phone message seeking comment from the attorney listed as Williams's lawyer in court documents were not immediately returned.

On Jan. 15, Akram held four people hostage in a Dallas-area synagogue for hours before the victims were safely released. Authorities later confirmed Akram's death following the incident.

The British national had pushed for the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently in jail for attempted murder of a U.S. soldier.

An FBI special agent called it both a "hate crime and an act of terrorism."

The Hill could not immediately reach an attorney for Williams for comment.

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