A man who sold the gun that was used in a standoff in which four people were held hostage at a Texas synagogue this month has been charged with a federal firearm crime, the authorities said on Wednesday.
Henry Williams, 32, who had previously been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was charged on Tuesday with being a felon in possession of a firearm, Chad E. Meacham, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement.
The charge was announced hours after the police in England had arrested two more men on Wednesday in connection with the hostage-taking.
Mr. Meacham said Mr. Williams, who is known as Michael, had sold a semiautomatic pistol to Malik Faisal Akram two days before Mr. Akram used it to take four people hostage inside Congregation Beth Israel of Colleyville, a Fort Worth suburb, on Jan. 15. Mr. Akram was killed after three of the hostages had escaped unharmed. A fourth hostage was released earlier during the standoff.
Federal prosecutors said they had tied Mr. Williams to Mr. Akram, who lived in Blackburn in northern England, through an analysis of cellphone records showing that the two had exchanged calls in the days before the hostage situation. Mr. Williams confirmed that he had sold the gun to Mr. Akram at an intersection in south Dallas, the authorities said.
A lawyer for Mr. Williams could not immediately be reached.
“As a convicted felon, Mr. Williams was prohibited from carrying, acquiring or selling firearms,” Mr. Meacham said. “Whether or not he knew of his buyer’s nefarious intent is largely irrelevant — felons cannot have guns, period.”
The men arrested in England on Wednesday were taken into custody in Manchester as part of a local investigation by counterterrorism officers from the region, the police said in a statement, adding that they had been “working closely with” the authorities in the United States. The men were not identified, but the police said they remained in custody “for questioning.”
The arrests came after revelations from British and American officials that Mr. Akram, 44, had been “a subject of interest” on a security watch list maintained by MI5, Britain’s domestic counterintelligence service. An investigation by the agency in 2020 concluded that Mr. Akram was not a terrorist threat at that time.
Mr. Akram traveled to the United States before the New Year. His brother, Gulbar Akram, described him as a deeply troubled man with mental health issues but did not provide more details.
The F.B.I. said that during the 11-hour standoff at Congregation Beth Israel, Mr. Akram had referred to Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for trying to kill American military officers in Afghanistan.
Experts have said that opposition to Ms. Siddiqui’s imprisonment has become a cause cited by jihadist militants in several countries. She is serving her sentence at a prison in Fort Worth, 24 miles from the synagogue that Mr. Akram targeted.
He was killed by gunfire after the last of the hostages had emerged and a F.B.I. team had entered the synagogue.
The police in Britain have made several previous arrests in…
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