Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, faces a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Chad Meacham, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
“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,” Meacham said in a statement.
Williams allegedly sold a pistol to Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national, on Jan. 13. Akram then allegedly used the weapon to hold four people hostage for hours just two days later. Akram died at the scene while all the hostages survived safely.
With the help of phone records showing calls between Akram and Williams, the FBI tracked the gun sale, according to Matthew DeSarno, Dallas FBI special agent in charge.
On Jan. 16, a day after the hostage incident, Williams told the FBI he remembered meeting a man with a British accent, according to the Justice Department. Eight days later, investigators arrested Williams on an outstanding state warrant and showed him a photo of Akram.
“After viewing a photo of Mr. Akram, Mr. Williams confirmed he sold Mr. Akram the handgun at an intersection in South Dallas,” Meacham’s office said. “Analysis of both men’s cellphone records showed that the two phones were in close proximity on Jan. 13.”
According to the complaint, Akram told Williams he wanted the firearm for the “intimidation” of someone who owned him money. Instead, Akram allegedly used it in what the FBI is describing as both an act of terror and a hate crime.
Williams has prior felony convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and on drug charges, according to the criminal complaint. So when he allegedly sold Akram a Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13, he would have been unable to do so legally.
Two days after the sale, Akram held four people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, for hours.
He demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman imprisoned in Fort Worth for allegedly trying to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
When the hostages seized an opportunity to dash out the door, law enforcement entered and fatally shot Akram.
They said they recovered the pistol at the scene.
Williams is due in court for a detention hearing next Monday.
Separately, police in Manchester, United Kingdom, announced two arrests in connection with the Texas case Wednesday – bringing the total of suspects arrested overseas in the case to four.