Man Who Sold Pistol Used in Synagogue Hostage Crisis Pleads Guilty to Gun Crime
The man who sold Malik Faisal Akram the gun he used to kidnap hostages in a Texas synagogue pleaded guilty today to a federal firearm crime, announced United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, 32, was charged via criminal complaint in January 2022. He pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez on Thursday.
“This defendant, a convicted felon, had no business carrying – much less buying and selling – firearms. Whether he suspected his buyer would use the gun to menace a community of faith is legally irrelevant: In the U.S., convicted felons cannot possess firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. “The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting those who violate our nation’s federal firearm laws, which are designed to keep guns from falling into the hands of dangerous offenders. We are grateful to the FBI, which sprang into action as soon as the synagogue hostage crisis began, and to the agents who worked tirelessly to track the weapon from Mr. Akram to the defendant.”
“Tireless days of nonstop investigation revealed the connection of Mr. Akram to Mr. Williams, we are grateful to the many law enforcement agencies and personnel that traced the weapon’s nefarious source,” said Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “We are fortunate to be able to celebrate the brave actions of the hostages and will continue to support Congregation Beth Israel and the Jewish community in their process of healing.”
According to the complaint, Mr. Williams – a felon previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance – sold Mr. Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13. In plea papers, Mr. Williams admitted to possession of that firearm despite his prior conviction.
According to the complaint, on Jan. 15, agents recovered the pistol from Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, where Mr. Akram had held four individuals hostage for several hours before he was fatally shot by federal law enforcement.
As part of its intensive investigation into the hostage taking, the FBI tied Mr. Williams to Mr. Akram through an analysis of Mr. Akram’s cellphone records, which showed the pair exchanged a series of calls from Jan. 11 through Jan. 13.
When agents first interviewed Mr. Williams on Jan. 16, Mr. Williams stated that he recalled meeting a man with a British accent, but that he could not recall the man’s name. (Mr. Akram was a British citizen.) Agents interviewed the defendant again on Jan. 24, after he was arrested on an outstanding state warrant. After viewing a photo of Mr. Akram, Mr. Williams confirmed he sold Mr. Akram the handgun at an intersection in South Dallas. Analysis of both men’s cellphone records showed that the two phones were in close proximity on Jan. 13. Mr. Williams now faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Dallas Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division, Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Division, and the Colleyville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Magliolo is prosecuting the case with the support of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Errin Martin, Jay Weimer, Alex Lewis, Nicole Dana, P.J. Meitl, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Beran (fmr), along with Trial Attorneys David Smith and Michael Dittoe of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.