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FBI: Texas synagogue hostage-taker sought to buy ‘machine gun’

A law enforcement vehicle is seen near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP)
A law enforcement vehicle is seen near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP)

The man who took hostages at a Texas synagogue sought to buy drugs and a “machine gun” before the standoff last month that ended with the hostages escaping and the gunman’s death, an FBI agent says in court.

The testimony comes during a detention hearing for the Dallas man accused of selling Malik Faisal Akram the handgun he used in his attack on Congregation Beth Israel in the suburb of Colleyville.

A federal magistrate ordered the alleged seller, Henry “Michael” Williams, detained ahead of his trial on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Williams, 32, was arrested less than two weeks after the standoff ended with an FBI tactical team rushing into the synagogue and fatally shooting Akram just as the hostages made their escape. Authorities said Williams confessed to selling Akram, a 44-year-old British national, the previously stolen pistol.

During the detention hearing, FBI agent Taylor Page testifies that Williams said Akram initially reached out to him seeking to buy methamphetamines and “a machine gun or a weapon that contains a large number of bullets.” Akram explained that he wanted the gun for intimidation to help settle a debt, according to Page.

Page also said that Akram fired his gun at some point during the standoff but did not provide details.

Magistrate Judge Rebecca Rutherford ordered Williams be held as a potential danger to the community.

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