A Texas man was arrested after his grandmother found out about his plans to carry out a mass shooting at a nearby hotel, authorities say.
William Patrick Williams, 19, of Lubbock, was arrested by ATF special agents on Aug. 1 after he was hospitalized. It was several days before the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“This was a tragedy averted,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox in a press release published on the Department of Justice’s website. “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.”
According to the release, Williams told his grandmother that he obtained an AK-47 rifle and was planning to shoot up a local hotel before committing “suicide by cop.”
The grandmother, who was not named, convinced the teen to allow her to bring him to a hospital.
Williams then allowed officials to search his room at the hotel. Officials found the rifle, 17 magazines, knives, a trench coat, black tactical pants, and a T-shirt with the words “Let ‘Em Come.”
Officials said he laid out his weapons on the bed so law enforcement could take them.
“Agents discovered that although Mr. Williams’ 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,” the news release stated.
Several local officials issued comments about the arrest but will not say if the planned attack targeted white or latino citizens. Media reports have been silent on a motive and have not blamed President Trump for this individual’s motives.
“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,” stated ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division Craig W. Saier.
Williams could face as many as five years in prison if he is convicted.
“The FBI worked closely with our partners at the ATF and Lubbock Police Department to prevent the defendant from potentially committing a violent act,” noted 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.”
Authorities didn’t release any other details about the arrest or details surrounding the case.