DOJ Charges Man Who Sold Pistol to Synagogue Hostage Terrorist

DOJ Charges Man Who Sold Pistol to Synagogue Hostage Terrorist Colleyville's Congregation Beth Israel from an aerial view Colleyville's Congregation Beth Israel (Brandon Wade/AP)

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 26 January 2022 03:29 PM

The Department of Justice has charged the man who sold the pistol used by the Colleyville's Congregation Beth Israel synagogue hostage terrorist with a federal crime.

Henry "Michael" Williams, 32, was charged Tuesday with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is alleged to have sold the pistol to Malik Faisal Akram, which was used to kidnap hostages in a Texas synagogue.

"Federal firearm laws are designed to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands," U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham wrote in a statement. "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."

A detention hearing for Williams has been set for Monday, Jan. 31.

"The Dallas FBI Field Office and our partners have worked around the clock since Jan. 15, 2022 to determine how Malik Faisal Akram acquired the weapon he used to terrorize worshipers at Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel synagogue," Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno wrote in a statement. "Along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners we pledge to continue our efforts to protect our communities from violence."

Williams was a felon previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance before he allegedly sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol Jan. 13. Two days later, agents recovered the pistol from Akram after he held four individuals hostage for several hours. Akram was fatally shot by federal law enforcement.

The FBI tracked Williams from Akram's call records, having placed calls from Jan. 11 through Jan. 13, according to the complaint.

Williams confirmed he sold Akram the handgun at an intersection in South Dallas on Jan. 24, telling the FBI that Akram told him the gun was going to be used for "intimidation" to get money from someone with an outstanding debt, according to the FBI.