Scene of hostage taking in Texas
Scene of hostage taking in TexasREUTERS/Shelby Tauber

A man who sold a pistol to a man who used it to hold four hostages inside a Texas synagogue before being fatally shot by the FBI was sentenced Monday to nearly eight years in prison for a federal gun crime, the US Department of Justice said, according to The Associated Press.

Henry “Michael” Dwight Williams, 33, pleaded guilty in June to being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors said. Williams sold Malik Faisal Akram the weapon Akram used when he entered Congregation Beth Israel in the Dallas-area suburb of Colleyville during Shabbat services on January 15 and held the synagogue’s rabbi and three others hostage, according to prosecutors.

Williams, who was previously convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance, sold Akram a semi-automatic pistol on January 13. Prosecutors said that in plea papers, Williams admitted to possession of that firearm despite his prior conviction.

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 rabbi threw a chair at Akram and fled with the other two remaining hostages just as an FBI tactical team was moving in.

The UK-based Jewish Chronicle published a recording of a phone call between the gunman and his brother in Britain which took place before Akram was shot dead by SWAT teams.

In the recording, Akram told his brother, "I'm opening the doors for every youngster in England to enter America and f*** with them”.

The gunman also boasted about his desire for martyrdom and said, "I've asked Allah for this death, Allah is with me, I'm not worried in the slightest."

Jeffrey Cohen, one of the hostages in the synagogue attack, told MSNBC after the hostage-taking incident that Akram was not "your typical attacker" who wanted to kill Jewish people but that he had "bought into these tropes."

"He came to the Jews because he bought into these very dangerous stories that the Jews control the world and the Jews control the government and the banks and the media. And we as good people and we as patriotic Americans, we need to challenge those things when we hear them, because these words do have consequences," Cohen recalled.