LUBBOCK, Texas — U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Erin Nealy Cox announces that a Lubbock man allegedly contemplating a mass shooting has been charged by criminal complaint with making false statements to a federally-licensed firearms dealer.

Another potential shooting has been averted.

William Patrick Williams, 19, was arrested by special agents of ATF and FBI Thursday, following a brief hospitalization. He made his initial appearance in court Friday morning.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday August 2, back on July 13, Mr. 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. Sensing he was both homicidal and suicidal, she convinced him to allow her to bring him to a local hospital instead.

Mr. Williams later gave officers consent to search the room he’d rented at the hotel, where officers 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. Mr. Williams told officers he had laid out his weapons on the bed so that law enforcement could take custody of them.

Eight days later, ATF received the firearms transaction form (form 4473) that Williams had completed on July 11, when purchasing the AK-47. On the form, Mr. Williams listed his relatives’ address, where he no longer resided. Agents discovered that although Mr. William’s driver’s license showed the family members’ 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.

“This was a tragedy averted,” said U.S. Attorney 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.”

“The safety of our citizens is paramount,” said Lubbock Interim Police Chief, Jerry Brewer. “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.” 

“ATF is committed to preventing firearms violence.  The ATF Dallas Field Division wants to thank our state, local and federal partners who cooperated in this investigation,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division, Craig W. Saier.

“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.”

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence, and Mr. Williams is innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, Williams faces up to five years in federal prison.

The Lubbock Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag, NDTX’s West Texas Branch Chief, is prosecuting the case.