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Man who sold weapon to suspect in Colleyville synagogue standoff charged with federal firearm crime

SWAT responded to hostage situation at Texas Synagogue.
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SWAT responded to hostage situation at Texas Synagogue.

A man who allegedly sold a weapon in the Dallas area to the gunman who took four hostages in a North Texas synagogue earlier this month has been charged with a federal firearm crime, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, was arrested on a state warrant in Texas on Monday, officials said. Williams is being charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department. Williams is a felon previously convicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance, officials said. Williams’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Authorities say Malik Faisal Akram held four hostages on Jan. 15 in a standoff that lasted around 11 hours at Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue northeast of Fort Worth. The FBI has said it is considering the incident a terrorist act and hate crime.

After looking at a photo of Akram, Williams confirmed that he sold a handgun to him at an intersection in South Dallas, two days before Akram attacked the synagogue, the Department of Justice said. Williams allegedly told officers that Akram said the gun — a semi automatic Taurus G2C pistol — was going to be used for “intimidation” against someone who owed him money, the press release said. The weapon was later recovered from the scene of the standoff, officials said.

“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,” said U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham in a statement.

The Dallas FBI field office assisted in locating the seller, the Department of Justice said. Williams was tied to Akram through an analysis of cellphone records, which showed the two exchanged calls from Jan. 11 to 13.

Williams made his initial appearance on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. His detention hearing is set to be held Monday and the court ordered his confinement in a corrections facility in the meantime.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Texas Tribune



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