Thanks to a keen Texas grandmother, there will be one less mass shooting this week in the United States. As the nation mourns the loss of 31 lives lost and scores more injured this weekend, one grandmother had taken it upon herself to prevent another tragedy before it occurred.
Police say 19-year-old William Patrick Williams of Lubbock, Texas admitted to his grandmother that he had fraudulently purchased an AK-47 rifle and intended to commit a mass shooting at a local hotel.
They say he further disclosed that he wished to die in the confrontation with police. Williams’ grandmother was able to convince the young man to join her as she took him to a nearby hospital.
Once secured in a mental health facility, authorities were contacted. Williams granted police permission to enter a hotel room her had rented.
A press release from the United States District Attorney’s Office Northern District of Texas reveals that officers recovered from the hotel room the AK-47 rifle, knives, seventeen loaded magazines, tactical attire, fingerless gloves and a black trench coat.
“This was a tragedy averted,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox in the official press release.
“I want to praise the defendant’s grandmother, who saved lives by interrupting this plot, as well as the Lubbock police officers and federal agents who investigated his unlawful acquisition of a deadly weapon.
If you suspect a friend or loved one is planning violence against themselves or others, do not hesitate to seek help immediately by calling law enforcement.”
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The rifle seized from the hotel room had been purchased through a fraudulent transaction.
Williams had lied on ATF Form 4473, which he had completed just over a week prior.
On the federal document, he claimed he resided with relatives at an old address which matched the identification he presented to the dealer. In actuality, his family members had evicted the young man quite sometime prior and he was living with a roommate.
Misrepresentation on a Form 4473 is a felony offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The document includes identifying information such as name, address, government issued ID information, firearm information and NICS authorization number.
The form additionally requires a series of questions which are an affidavit affirming that the purchaser is authorized to do so. The document must be retained by the dealer for no less than 20 years and is subject to inspection by the ATF if requested.
Matthew DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Officer credited the collaborative effort of law enforcement agencies in the press release saying:
“The FBI worked closely with our partners at the ATF and Lubbock Police Department to prevent the defendant from potentially committing a violent act. This case is a perfect example of law enforcement agencies coming together to find a solution that protected the public from harm.”
Willams appeared in court on Friday and may be facing up to five years incarceration.
It takes an extraordinarily strong woman to turn over her own flesh and blood to do what is right; in doing so, sparing strangers that will never know how close they may have come to another tragedy.