According to a federal official in Dallas, the Dallas man who supplied Malik Faisal Akram the rifle he used to abduct hostages at a Colleyville synagogue entered a guilty plea on Thursday to a federal gun crime. Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez, Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, 32, who was accused via criminal complaint in January, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Williams could now spend up to 10 years in prison.
“This defendant, a felon with a criminal record, had no business owning or purchasing weapons. “In the United States, convicted criminals cannot own weapons, so whether he suspected his customer would use the gun to threaten a community of faith is legally irrelevant,” said United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham in a news release on Thursday. “The Justice Department is dedicated to holding those accountable who violate our country’s federal firearm laws, which are intended to prevent weapons from ending up in the hands of dangerous criminals.
Meacham commended the FBI for their efforts on the Williams case.
“Tireless days of nonstop research uncovered the relationship between Mr. Akram and Mr. Williams. The news statement from the Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno read, “We are appreciative to the numerous law enforcement agencies and personnel that tracked the weapon’s illicit origins. We are lucky to be able to honour the captives’ valiant deeds, and we’ll keep helping Congregation Beth Israel and the Jewish community get better.
According to the federal complaint, Williams, a criminal with prior convictions for attempted possession of a prohibited substance as well as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on January 13. Williams acknowledged having that gun in his possession in his plea documents despite having a criminal record.
The pistol was found, in accordance with the complaint, on January 15 at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, where Akram had held four hostages there for several hours before being fatally shot by federal law enforcement.
Through examination of Akram’s cellphone records, which revealed that the two exchanged a string of calls from January 11 through January 13, FBI agents were able to connect Williams and Akram. Williams admitted during his initial interview with agents on January 16 that he remembered meeting a man with a British accent, but he was unable to recollect the individual’s name. (Akram was a citizen of the UK.)
On January 24, following his detention for a pending state warrant, agents conducted another interview with the defendant. Williams acknowledged selling Akram the weapon at a South Dallas crossroads after seeing a picture of Akram.
Both men’s cellphone usage data revealed that on January 13, the two phones were near one other.
The Dallas Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the Colleyville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Dallas Field Division of Homeland Security Investigations, assisted in conducting the investigation.dd