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Man Who Allegedly Sold Gun to Hostage-Taker Arrested

Feds say Texas felon Henry Williams wasn't allowed to possess weapon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2022 8:03 AM CST
Texas Man Arrested in Connection With Synagogue Standoff
This booking photo provided by the Dallas County Sheriff's Office shows Henry "Michael" Williams.   (Dallas County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – A Texas man has been arrested in connection with the hostage-taking at a Dallas-area synagogue—but he's not accused of knowing anything about the attack. Henry "Michael" Williams faces a federal gun charge for allegedly selling the pistol British man Malik Faisal Akram used in the attack, the Washington Post reports. Investigators say the 32-year-old sold the semi-automatic Taurus pistol to Akram two days before the Jan. 15 attack. Williams, who was convicted in 2005 of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, has been charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, the AP reports.

According to charging documents, Williams told investigators that he had sold a gun to a man with a British accent at an intersection in Dallas for $150. He said Akram told him he planned to use the weapon as "intimidation" to collect an outstanding debt, NBC-DFW reports. "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," US Attorney Chad E. Meacham said in a statement. Authorities say FBI agents tracked Williams through Akram's phone records.

Akram, 44, was shot dead when an FBI team stormed the synagogue. Moments earlier, the hostages escaped unharmed after the rabbi threw a chair at the gunman. Two men in Britain were arrested last week in connection with the incident and another two were arrested Wednesday, the BBC reports. Police in Manchester, who have been working closely with their American counterparts, say the men are being held for questioning but have not been charged yet. The two arrested earlier have been released with no further action. Akram, who demanded the release of a jailed terrorist during the standoff, was investigated by British security services in 2020 but was taken off a watchlist last year. (Read more Texas stories.)

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