Man, 32, is arrested after admitting he sold semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol to British terrorist who held rabbi and three others hostage in Texas synagogue

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Maisal Faisal Akram traveled from Britain to Texas and on January 15 held four people hostage inside the Congregation Beth Israel in ColleyvilleThe four hostages escaped - one was released, and three fled when the rabbi threw a chair at AkramAkram was killed by police at the end of the 10-hour siege and questions have been asked about how he was let into the country and able to buy a gunOn Monday, Henry 'Michael' Williams was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearmWilliams admitted that he sold the weapon to a British man on January 13, at an intersection in south DallasWilliams told prosecutors that Akram said he wanted the gun to intimidate someone who owed an outstanding debt 

A Texas man has been charged with selling a gun to the Briton who held four hostages inside a synagogue earlier this month before he was shot dead by the FBI.

Henry ‘Michael’ Williams was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after authorities say he sold the weapon that Maisal Faisal Akram used when he entered Congregation Beth Israel in Colleysville, Texas, on January 15 and held the rabbi and three others hostage for hours.

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Akram, 44, originally from Blackburn, Lancashire, held the hostages in the Dallas-area suburb with a Taurus pistol while demanding the release of a federal prisoner.

The stand-off ended after more than 10 hours when the temple’s rabbi threw a chair at Akram and fled with the other two remaining hostages just as an FBI tactical team was moving in.

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Williams has previously been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.

Henry 'Michael' Williams has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Williams admitted to investigators selling the gun to Akram, prosecutors say

Global Tech News Daily

Henry ‘Michael’ Williams has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Williams admitted to investigators selling the gun to Akram, prosecutors say

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, died at the end of the 10 hour siege at a Texas synagogue on January 15. He had allegedly bought the gun two days before from Williams

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, died at the end of the 10 hour siege at a Texas synagogue on January 15. He had allegedly bought the gun two days before from Williams

Akram is seen in this handout photo taken at a faith based daytime outreach center in Dallas on January 2

Akram is seen in this handout photo taken at a faith based daytime outreach center in Dallas on January 2

The standoff took place at the Congregation Beth Israel, in Colleyville, just 27 miles from Dallas

The standoff took place at the Congregation Beth Israel, in Colleyville, just 27 miles from Dallas

Prosecutors say Williams sold Akram a semi-automatic pistol on January 13 — two days before the hostage-taking. The pistol was recovered from the scene.

The complaint says FBI agents traced Williams from Akram’s phone records. 

The two allegedly exchanged multiple calls between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13, and their phones were allegedly in proximity to each other Jan. 13. 

Williams initially told investigators one day after Akram was killed that he recalled meeting a man with a British accent but did not remember his name.

During a separate interview the following week, authorities said Williams was shown a photo of Akram and this time confirmed that he sold him the weapon at an intersection in south Dallas.

Williams told investigators that Akram said he intended to use the gun to intimidate someone who owed an outstanding debt, according to authorities.

Dallas police arrested Williams on an outstanding warrant on Monday, and he told federal investigators that he sold the gun to Akram after being read his rights, according to charging documents. 

‘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,’ U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham said in a statement. 

Akram had arrived in the U.S. in mid December, landing at New York’s JFK airport before making his way to Texas, buying a gun, and taking four people captive.   

The authorities are still piecing together Akram’s movements and motivations, and have said little about the ongoing investigation.

He is known to have called for the release of a female al-Qaeda terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving her 86-year sentence in Texas.  

Most Britons visiting the US as tourists come on an ‘ESTA’ visa waiver – which involves filling out a form online where applicants must confirm they’ve never committed any crimes, or been a member of a terrorist group.   

It has since emerged that Akram, born in the northern British city of Blackburn, was once banned from his local magistrates’ court for ranting about the 9/11 attacks.

SWAT teams from the Colleyville Police Department responded to the synagogue after emergency calls began at about 10:41 a.m. during the Sabbath service

SWAT teams from the Colleyville Police Department responded to the synagogue after emergency calls began at about 10:41 a.m. during the Sabbath service


Intelligence sources refused to confirm reports that he had been on a terror watchlist.

Despite a series of ‘red flag warnings’ about his behavior, Akram was granted a tourist visa by the U.S. authorities and was able to travel from New York to Texas. 

Convicted criminals are usually denied entry to the United States, but Akram – who has served three prison sentences – was granted a tourist visa after simply lying on his application, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The paper reported that his long criminal history dates back to 1996, when he was jailed for violent disorder following a baseball attack on a member of his extended family.

He was given a six-month custodial sentence but was jailed again the following year, after being found guilty of destroying property.

In 1999, he was again behind bars following a conviction for harassment and, after being let out on license, he breached the terms of his release and was returned to prison. 

His most recent spell in prison came in 2012, when he was remanded in custody after being accused of stealing a phone and almost $8,000.

However, he was subsequently released on bail and the case against him did not proceed.

But while being held at HMP Liverpool, he was reported by the prison Imam for ‘concerning and disruptive behavior’ at Friday prayers.

As well as having a lengthy criminal record, Akram was a regular visitor to Pakistan and was understood to be a member of Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic organization banned by Saudi Arabia.

In recent years he would regularly take part in anti-Israel demonstrations and marches for the release of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Akram’s brother, Gulbar, said he had suffered from mental health problems and questioned how he had been allowed into the United States. 

‘He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?’ 

One of his four hostages, Jeffrey Cohen, wrote a lengthy Facebook post detailing the siege, and praising the active shooter training for teaching him how to handle the intense situation.

‘First of all, we escaped,’ said Cohen, an engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

‘We weren’t released or freed. We escaped because we had training from the Secure Community Network on what to do in the event of an active shooter. 

‘This training saved our lives – I am not speaking in hyperbole here – it saved our lives.’

Jeffrey Cohen, a NASA engineer, was among the four people held hostage in Texas by a British terrorist

Jeffrey Cohen, a NASA engineer, was among the four people held hostage in Texas by a British terrorist

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and Cohen both credited their active shooter training for helping them escape

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and Cohen both credited their active shooter training for helping them escape


Cohen told of the fear that he, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the two others felt after the ‘calm and happy’ man who they had welcomed into their synagogue – Cytron-Walker made him a cup of tea, chatted with him before the service and introduced him to others – pulled out an automatic weapon.

He said it was very different from how it is depicted in films. 

‘Movies are scripted. Everyone knows exactly what every other actor will do. It is not surreal. 

‘On the contrary, it is quite real and realistic,’ Cohen said.

Cohen said that, when confronted with a gunman, fighting back is a last resort, because he feared the others would be shot.

He said he contemplated attacking him, but never got close enough.

Cohen explained how his training allowed him to make a series of careful decisions that may well have saved his life, and the lives of his fellow captives.

‘I keep my phone next to me during services, and that was important,’ he wrote. 

‘I quickly dialed 911 and put the phone screen side down on the chair and moved as commanded. But not exactly as commanded. Instead of going to the back of the room, I stayed in line with one of the exits.’

Cohen said that he remained mindful of the easiest way out of the building, and encouraged others to do the same.

‘Later in the day, I helped one of my fellows by moving him closer to the door,’ Cohen explained. 

‘While rubbing his shoulders, I whispered about the exit door. 

‘Still later, when we received the pizza, I suggested to our third hostage that he bring it back to us. 

‘We were all within 20 feet of the exit door. This proved critical for our escape.’  

Cohen said that he and the others tried to ‘keep the gunman engaged’, and ask questions that he hoped may ultimately be useful for the FBI. 

Cohen said they remained calm, but towards the end of the 10-hour siege the situation deteriorated.

One of the four hostages is seen being escorted from the building shortly after 5pm. The other three would remain inside for several hours more

One of the four hostages is seen being escorted from the building shortly after 5pm. The other three would remain inside for several hours more 

Members of the SWAT team are seen on Saturday outside the Colleyville synagogue

Members of the SWAT team are seen on Saturday outside the Colleyville synagogue

One hostage had been released, leaving the rabbi, Cohen, and a third worshipper named Shane. 

‘At one point, our attacker instructed us to get on our knees,’ he said. 

‘I reared up in my chair, stared at him sternly. I think I slowly moved my head and mouthed NO. 

‘He stared at me, then moved back to sit down. 

‘It was this moment when Rabbi Charlie yelled run. 

‘Shane had one step on me. I grabbed him and pushed him through the door (we were so close, that the report said only 2 people came out – there were three of us).

‘Going out the door, I stumbled hitting the ground hard. I heard our attacker open the door. I was on the ground without my glasses, my plan became getting through the hedge line. 

‘In all honesty, I thought I was further under than I was. In fact, I was quite exposed. 

‘The lesson is that just because your head is covered doesn’t mean your body isn’t completely in the open. 

‘When I heard the door close and an officer yell, I got up and ran.’ 

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