A Texas grandmother is being hailed as a hero for convincing her troubled grandson to seek medical help, after he allegedly informed her that he was planning to “shoot up” a hotel in July.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of Northern Texas says the grandmother, who has not been identified, was instrumental in preventing a mass shooting at a hotel in Lubbock, Texas, on July 13.
Her grandson, William Patrick Williams, 19, faces one firearm-related charge in connection with the incident. The name of the hotel has not been released.
“This was a tragedy averted,” U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said in a statement. “I want to praise the defendant’s grandmother, who saved lives by interrupting this plot.”
The Lubbock suspect had allegedly stockpiled an AK-47 rifle, 17 magazines of ammunition and several knives inside a hotel room ahead of the planned mass shooting, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday.
Authorities say he was planning to stage a “homicidal and suicidal” mass shooting from his hotel room — but he decided to call his grandmother first.
The suspect told his grandmother that he’d recently acquired the AK-47 rifle, and that he was planning to “shoot up” a hotel and “then commit suicide by cop,” according to the news release.
His grandmother heard him out, then offered him another option: She would come down to the hotel and meet him in person, then take him to a hospital for treatment.
The suspect ultimately agreed to his grandmother’s plan and gave up on his own. He set aside his gun and laid out all of his armaments on the hotel bed, then checked into the hospital with his grandmother at his side.
Authorities say he was arrested after being discharged from the hospital.
Police later entered the suspect’s hotel room and found his weapons laid out on the bed. They also found a black trench coat, black tactical pants, gloves and a black T-shirt with the words “Let ‘Em Come” written across the front, according to the attorney’s office.
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Williams appeared in court on Aug. 2 to face one charge of making false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
Authorities allege the suspect listed a relative’s address as his own on a form used to purchase the AK-47 on July 11.
The suspect faces up to five years in prison if convicted, but the charges might have been much worse if he hadn’t listened to his grandmother.
U.S. Attorney Cox hailed Lubbock police, federal agents and the suspect’s grandmother for potentially saving many lives with their actions.
“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,” Cox said.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.