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Texas man charged with selling gun to man who held hostages at synagogue

Henry “Michael” Williams was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Image: Texas Synagogue Holds Healing Service After Recent Hostage Situation At Synagogue
Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 17, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas.Emil Lippe / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

DALLAS — A Texas man has been charged with selling a gun to the man who held four hostages inside a Texas synagogue earlier this month before being fatally shot by the FBI, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

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 Jan. 15 and held the synagogue’s rabbi and three others hostage for hours.

Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, held hostages in the Dallas-area suburb while demanding the release of a federal prisoner. The standoff 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.

The hostages said Akram cited antisemitic stereotypes, and authorities said Akram was demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of trying to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan and who is serving a lengthy sentence in a prison near Colleyville.

The attorney listed for Williams in court records did not immediately respond to a phone message and email seeking comment.

Earlier Wednesday, British police said they arrested another two men in the investigation into the hostage-taking incident at a Texas synagogue earlier this month.

The counter-terrorism force Policing North West said the two men were arrested in the northern English city of Manchester. They were being held for questioning and have not yet been charged.

The police force did not disclose details about the two men. British police do not release names and details of detainees until they are charged.

On Jan. 20, British police detained two men in the cities of Birmingham and Manchester for questioning as part of the same investigation. The men were released with no further action.

Two British teenagers were also detained earlier in Manchester and released without charge.

British authorities have reportedly said that Akram was investigated by MI5, the domestic security service, in the second half of 2020, but was deemed not to be a credible threat at the time.