In Texas, where a mass shooting this weekend in El Paso left 22 dead, another potential one was thwarted last month when a woman convinced her grandson to visit a hospital for treatment instead of opening fire at a hotel as he'd planned.
William Patrick Williams, 19, of Lubbock, was arrested by federal authorities on Thursday after a short hospitalization.
“This was a tragedy averted,” Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement. "I want to praise the defendant’s grandmother, who saved lives by interrupting this plot."
Williams told his grandmother he purchased an AK-47 rifle and planned to "shoot up" a local hotel and commit suicide by cop, federal prosecutors said last week. The woman convinced him to let her bring him to a hospital instead.
She gave authorities consent to search a room Williams rented at the hotel. Officers found the rifle, 17 magazines loaded with ammunition, several knives, a black trench coat, tactical pants, a T-shirt that read "Let 'Em Come" and black gloves with the fingers cut off.
A check of the form used to purchase the weapon found Williams listed false information, including his address. He was arrested for allegedly making false statements to a firearms dealer.
He faces up to five years in prison.
The arrest came mere days before another a gunman walked into an El Paso Walmart on Saturday and opened fire. So far, the shooting's death toll is 22, with many more injured.
A few hours later, another gunman killed nine people in a separate spree in Dayton, Ohio.