William Patrick Williams, 19, was planing a mass shooting at a local hotel in Lubbock, Texas before being arrested on August 2. Williams allegedly told his grandmother on July 13 that he had bought an AK-47 and planned to “shoot up” the hotel then commit suicide by cop.
According to the criminal complaint, his grandma became concerned and convinced him to go to the hospital and get treated for his mental health issues
She also called police who questioned Williams and got his consent to search his hotel room where they found an AK-47 and 17 magazines of ammunition and various other pieces of tactical gear. Williams’ grandma is being praised for how she handled the situation which stopped a senseless tragedy.
“This was a tragedy averted,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox in an official statement. “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.”
The Lubbock Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were all involved in conducting the investigation.
“The FBI worked closely with our partners at the ATF and Lubbock Police Department to prevent the defendant from potentially committing a violent act,” said Matthew DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office. “This case is a perfect example of law enforcement agencies coming together to find a solution that protected the public from harm.”
Two days after Williams’ arrest, a gunman shot up a Walmart in El Paso, leaving 22 people dead and 26 others injured. Less than 24 hours later, another shooter opened fire at Ned Pepper’s bar in Dayton, killing nine and wounding at least 27 others.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Was Arrested for Making False Statements to a Firearms Dealer
Despite his grandmother’s statement and his alleged plans, Williams was technically arrested for “making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm”. During their investigation, ATF agents discovered that Williams had allegedly lied on firearms transaction form 4473. He listed his relatives address rather than his current address, and lying on the form is a Federal crime.
If Williams had not written a different address, the gun would have been purchased legally and police wouldn’t have been able to arrest him. He could have stayed at the hospital for treatment, but technically did not break any other laws.
He’s currently being held at the Lubbock County Jail.
2. Police Found Weapons, Tactical Gear, and Medication in His Hotel Room
According to the criminal complaint, when officers searched Williams’ hotel room they found an AK-47 rifle, seventeen magazines loaded with ammunition, multiple knives, a black trench coat, black tactical pants, a black t-shirt that read “Let ‘Em Come,” and black tactical gloves with the fingers cut off. Each AK-47 magazine usually carries 30 bullets which means Williams possibly had over 500 rounds of ammunition.
They also found medical records chronicling Williams’ history of depression and his anti-depression medication. Williams gave officers permission to search the room and “laid out all his weapons on the bed” so that law enforcement could easily take custody of them.
While Williams was at the hospital, ATF agents recovered his ATF Form 4473 and discovered the false information. They arrested him at the hospital and he was transported to the Lubbock County Jail.
3. William Williams’ Uncle Evicted Him
Prior to buying the Ak-47, Williams’ uncle evicted him for bringing weapons into his home. According to the criminal complaint, Police were trying to verify his address when they spoke to his uncle who told them he had evicted Williams Mid-June because he “did not want Williams at the house alone because Williams had weapons.” He told police the two got into a fight when he told Williams to move out. The uncle changed the alarm codes and keys to the house.
Williams listed his uncle’s address as his permanent residence when he submitted the form on July 11 even though he had signed a lease at a different apartment complex with a woman named Prudence Venner.
Once the ATF verified that Williams’ was allegedly evicted, they had enough information to charge him with a crime.
4. He’s Facing 5 Years In Federal Prison
If convicted for his crimes, Williams faces up to 5 years in prison. According to the law, in order for Williams to be found guilty, the government needs to prove that: “(1) the defendant knowingly made a false statement or representation, (2) The defendant made the statement or representation to a licensed dealer, importer, manufacturer or collector of firearms”
5. His Grandmother Heard Him Loading a Weapon on the Phone
Williams was allegedly speaking to his grandmother on the phone when she became concerned that his threats were more than words when, according to the criminal complaint, she “could hear Williams manipulating a firearm on the phone and was able to persuade Williams to let her pick him up”.
Fearing that Williams now had the tools needed to carry out his potential plot, she got him the help that he needed and alerted the authorities.