‘Tragedy averted': Texas grandmother thwarted 19-year-old grandson's alleged planned mass shooting
LUBBOCK, Texas - A Texas grandmother prevented a suspected planned mass shooting by convincing her grandson to instead go to a local hospital with her.
William Patrick Williams, 19, allegedly contemplated a mass shooting and was charged by criminal complaint with making false statements to a federally-licensed firearms dealer, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office - Northern District of Texas.
Special agents with the ATF and FBI arrested Williams Thursday, following his brief hospitalization.
On July 13, Williams allegedly told his grandmother he had recently purchased an AK-47 rifle and planned to “shoot up” a local hotel and then commit suicide by cop, according to a criminal complaint.
The grandmother, sensing he was both homicidal and suicidal, convinced him to allow her to bring him to a local hospital, the complaint said.
“This was a tragedy averted,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “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.”
Williams later gave officers consent to search the room he booked at the hotel, where officers found an AK-47 rifle, 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 out.
Williams told officers he had laid out his weapons on the bed so that law enforcement could take custody of them, the release said.
ATF also received the firearms transaction form that Williams had completed on July 11, when purchasing the AK-47, according to the release. On the form, Williams listed his relative’s address, where he no longer resided. Officials discovered that although William’s driver’s license showed the family members’ address, he 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, the release said.
“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.”
Lubbock interim Police Chief Jerry Brewer said he appreciated the grandmother chose to keep the community safe.
“The safety of our citizens is paramount,” Brewer said. “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.”
If convicted, Williams faces up to five years in federal prison.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.