A Texas grandmother is being credited with averting a possible mass shooting by turning her grandson in to authorities after he allegedly confessed that he planned to “shoot up” a local hotel.
William Patrick Williams, 19, told his grandmother on July 13 that he had already purchased an AK-47 and planned to use the deadly weapon to “shoot up” the hotel and then commit suicide by cop, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Texas.
The grandmother told police she could hear her grandson manipulating the firearm while they spoke on the phone, according to a report from the Lubbock Police Department obtained by local station KCBD.
After believing her grandson was both “homicidal” and “suicidal,” prosecutors said she convinced the 19-year-old to go to a local hospital instead, preventing a possible tragedy.
Williams later agreed to give officers permission to search a hotel room he’d rented, where authorities discovered an AK-47, 17 magazines loaded with ammunition, multiple knives, a black trench coat, a black T-shirt with the words “Let ‘Em Come” and tactical gloves with the fingers cut off, prosecutors said.
“This was a tragedy averted,” U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said. “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 this unlawful acquisition of a deadly weapon.”
After a brief hospitalization, Williams was arrested Thursday for making false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
During their investigation, investigators with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) discovered that Williams had listed an address that he no longer lived at when he bought the gun on July 11. The address had apparently belonged to a family member, although Williams was living at the time with a roommate at a different address.
Williams had served for about a year in the military before he was discharged for suicidal tendencies, the police report said.
Williams’ grandmother told police she was not aware of any past suicide attempts, but did know the teen had cut his arms in the past.
If convicted on the charge against him, prosecutors said Williams could face up to five years in a federal prison.
Cox encouraged anyone who suspects a friend or family member is planning an act of violence to contact authorities.
“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,” she said.
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