Just weeks before the two mass shootings over the weekend, officials said that a grandmother stopped her grandson from carrying out a mass shooting.
William Patrick Williams, 19, was arrested recently by FBI agents and appeared in court on Aug. 2.
According to a criminal complaint, Williams told his grandma he bought an AK-47 rifle and wanted to “shoot up” a local hotel before committing suicide by purposefully getting shot by a police officer.
“Sensing he was both homicidal and suicidal, she convinced him to allow her to bring him to a local hospital instead,” the Department of Justice said.
“This was a tragedy averted. 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,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in a statement.
“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.”
Williams later consented to having a hotel room he’d rented searched. Officers found an AK-47 along with 17 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.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives obtained the form showing how Williams had obtained the gun and found he misrepresented his address on the form. He was living with a roommate but listed an address belonging to family members on the form.
“On the form, Mr. Williams listed his relative’s address, where he no longer resided. Agents discovered that although Mr. Williams’s driver’s license showed the family member’s address, Mr. Williams was actually living with a roommate at a different address, following eviction by his relatives. He had allegedly misrepresented his current address on the firearms transaction form,” authorities said.
He was charged with making false statements to a federally-licensed firearms dealer. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
When Williams called a nearby hospital, he told an emergency room doctor he was both suicidal and homicidal, according to a police report obtained by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
She then called the police, telling officers she thought she could hear Williams handling a firearm and convinced him to let her visit his hotel room to get him.
The physician also said that Williams served in the military for a year before being discharged for suicidal tendencies. She said she didn’t know of any suicide attempts but noted Williams had cut his arms before.
“The safety of our citizens is paramount,” said Lubbock Interim Police Chief Jerry Brewer in a statement. “When events like this occur we greatly appreciate the cooperative relationships with our federal law enforcement partners that enhance our abilities to protect the community.”
“The FBI worked closely with our partners at the ATF and Lubbock Police Department to prevent the defendant from potentially committing a violent act,” added 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.”