Henry Williams, who was charged Tuesday with being a felon in possession of a firearm, allegedly sold a semiautomatic pistol to Malik Faisal Akram on January 13, according to a criminal complaint.
Akram, a 44-year-old British national, held four people hostage at Congregation Beth Israel in an 11-hour standoff on January 15, the FBI said. An FBI team killed Akram after one hostage was released and three escaped from the synagogue just outside Dallas, officials said.
CNN has reached out to Williams’ attorney for comment. He had his initial court appearance Wednesday, court records show.
Authorities were able to identify Williams by analyzing Akram’s cell phone records, which showed the two called each other several times between January 11 and 13, according to the complaint.
When authorities first approached Williams on January 16, Williams told federal investigators that he met with a man who had a British accent but that he did not remember the man’s name, the complaint said.
Agents interviews Williams again after he was arrested on an outstanding state warrant and showed him a photo of Akram, and he confirmed that was the person he sold the handgun to, the complaint said.
The complaint added Williams “stated that Akram told him the gun was going to be used for intimidation as Akram represented that he wanted it to try and get money from someone who had an outstanding debt with him.”
Williams was previously incarcerated for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance, according to the complaint. He remains detained ahead of a January 31 pre-trial detention hearing.
“Federal firearm laws are designed to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands. As a convicted felon, Mr. Williams was prohibited from carrying, acquiring, or selling firearms,” US Attorney Chad E. Meacham said in a statement. “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.”
Two men arrested in UK as part of investigation
Akram arrived in the United States in late December via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, a US law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told CNN.
CNN’s Tara John and Allegra Goodwin reported from London, and Paul P. Murphy reported from New York.