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Man who sold gun used in synagogue hostage crisis sentenced to nearly eight years in prison

(DALLAS) — Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, the man who sold the gun to the Texas synagogue hostage-taker earlier this year, was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison, authorities said.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, held four people hostage for 10 hours in Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last January. The hostages were safely evacuated and Akram was fatally shot by law enforcement officers.

Williams sold Akram a semiautomatic Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13. In plea papers, Williams admitted to possessing the firearm despite his conviction, according to Chad Meacham of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas.

“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.

The FBI was able to uncover cellphone records tying Williams to Akram. The two exchanged several phone calls from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

After he was arrested on an outstanding warrant in January, Williams told investigators that he sold Akram the handgun at an intersection in South Dallas.

Williams was charged in January, indicted in February and pleaded guilty to the charge in June. A federal judge issued the sentencing on Monday. He was previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance.

“The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting those who violate our nation’s federal firearm laws, which are designed to keep guns from falling into the hands of dangerous offenders. We are grateful to the FBI, which sprang into action as soon as the synagogue hostage crisis began, and to the agents who worked tirelessly to track the weapon from Mr. Akram to the defendant,” Meacham said.

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