Grandma foils teen’s mass shooting plot
A GRANDMOTHER who saved Texas from yet another mass shooting, a month before a man entered a Walmart in the US state and killed 22 people, has been hailed a hero.
William Patrick Williams, 19, was charged on August 3 after his grandmother persuaded him to go to hospital and get help after he told her of his plans to "shoot up" a local hotel.
Mr Williams appeared in court on Friday charged with contemplating a mass shooting and making false statements to a federal arms dealer after his grandmother reported him to the authorities.
The offence carries up to five years in prison.
According to police, Mr Williams told his grandma on July 13 that he had "recently purchased an AK-47 rifle, planned to 'shoot up' a local hotel and then commit suicide by cop".
His grandmother, sensing he was "homicidal and suicidal", instead convinced him to go to a hospital and get help, police said.
While in hospital, Mr Williams gave police consent to search the room he had rented 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 off.
"Mr Williams told officers he had laid out his weapons on the bed so that law enforcement could take custody of them," the 19-year-old's criminal complaint read.
In a statement late last week, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox praised the grandma for potentially saving lives.
"This was a tragedy averted," Ms 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 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."
Mr Williams and his grandmother live in Lubbock, Texas, a town less than three hours drive away from El Paso.
The community of El Paso is in mourning after a 21-year-old man stormed a Walmart armed with an assault rifle and shot 22 people dead on the weekend.
Hours later, another young man opened fire on a street in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people before he was shot dead by police officers.
Authorities in El Paso today said the suspected gunman who opened fire at a Walmart and killed 22 people wound up at the store after driving more than 10 hours from the Dallas area.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said the gunman got lost in a neighbourhood before ending up at Walmart "because, we understand, he was hungry." Mr Allen didn't elaborate.
The details were some of the first to come out regarding the suspected gunman's movements in El Paso prior to the shooting Saturday.
Authorities have charged 21-year-old Patrick Crusius with capital murder.
Crusius' hometown is the affluent Dallas suburb of Allen.
The police chief said the gun used in the shooting was legally purchased near the suspect's hometown.
The 21-year-old is also claiming he has been unemployed for five months.
Crusius said in his application for a public defender that he had no income, assets or expenses and that he has been living with his grandparents.
The document was filed with the El Paso County district clerk's office Sunday and appears to indicate that the 21-year-old Crusius qualifies for a court-appointed lawyer.
Police shut down streets around Crusius' grandparents' home in the Dallas suburb of Allen in the hours after the mass shooting almost 1000kms away.
The FBI said agents searched their home and two other homes where Crusius had stayed.
Larry and Cynthia Brown said in a statement read by a family friend that their grandson moved out six weeks ago.