A federal charge has been filed against a Texas felon for allegedly selling a handgun to Malik Faisal Akram, the 44-year-old British national who took hostages at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue earlier this month, and was killed in a confrontation with law enforcement after the hostages were able to escape.
According to a statement from the Justice Department, Akram bought the gun from 32-year-old Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, a convicted felon who should not have possessed the firearm. He has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. CFL reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Dallas to learn whether authorities had discovered how and from where Williams got the pistol, but a spokesperson there could not comment.
Akram allegedly bought the gun on Jan. 13, two days before the hostage standoff.
“Federal firearm laws are designed to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands,” said U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham. “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. 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 Mr. Akram to Mr. Williams. The freed hostages, the Beth Israel congregation, and indeed the entire Jewish community deserve that support.”
According to Fox News, “On Jan. 16, a day after the hostage incident, Williams told the FBI he remembered meeting a man with a British accent, according to the Justice Department. Eight days later, investigators arrested Williams on an outstanding state warrant and showed him a photo of Akram.”
The Justice Department statement said Williams had prior convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.
The pistol, which was recovered at the scene, is identified as a semiautomatic Taurus G2c.
The U.S. Attorney’s office noted, “A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Williams is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
Williams was tracked down when investigators conducted an analysis of Akram’s phone calls, showing the men had chatted several times between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13.
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