The man who sold the gun used in a Colleyville synagogue hostage situation in January has been sentenced to eight years in prison, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham announced on October 24, 2022.
According to court documents, Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, 33, was charged in late January and indicted the following month for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Williams pleaded guilty in June and was sentenced Monday by Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey to 95 months (approximately eight years) in federal prison.
“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 Meacham.
On the morning of Jan. 15, 2022, officials said Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, entered the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville as Sabbath services were taking place. A livestream captured the moment Akram began demanding the release of a Pakistani scientist, suspected of having ties to terrorism, who is in a Fort Worth prison.
Akram later held four people, including the synagogue’s rabbi, hostage in a standoff that lasted for nearly 12 hours. All of the hostages were able to escape unharmed. Akram died after a special hostage rescue team was brought in from Quantico, Va., moved in and killed him.
During the federal investigation into the hostage situation, it was revealed Williams provided the gun used in the crime.
“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.
Williams was previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.
According to investigators, Williams sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C on Jan. 13, despite Williams being prohibited from carrying or selling firearms because of his prior conviction.
When agents interviewed Williams on Jan. 16, he recalled meeting a man with “a British accent” but couldn’t recall the man’s name. Williams was arrested a week later on an outstanding warrant. Agents said after Williams was booked and looked at a photo of Akram, he confirmed Akram was the man he sold the weapons to at an intersection in South Dallas.
In an interview with WFAA, Williams’ wife, Keisha Williams, and his sister LaWanda Williams were adamant that William didn’t know Akram or was involved with him in any way. They said they believed Williams was put in contact with Akram through people he knew in South Dallas.
“He’s a family man, a hustle man, that’s it,” Keisha said in the interview.
“He just made a mistake on who he sold something to,” said LaWanda.