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Texas hostage siege: Rabbi tells how he threw chair at Malik Faisal Akram to escape synagogue attack



A rabbi who was held hostage by a British man throughout an nearly 11-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue has revealed how he and his fellow hostages managed to flee when he threw a chair on the gunman.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker spoke to CBS Mornings on Monday concerning the “terrifying” ordeal, which unfolded at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, near Fort Value, on Saturday.

He was considered one of three hostages nonetheless being held greater than 10 hours after the gunman, recognized as 44-year-old British man Malik Faisal Akram, first took 4 worshippers at gunpoint throughout the Shabbat service.

The rabbi stated that they had been changing into more and more “terrified” over the past hour of the ordeal as a result of the gunman “wasn’t getting what he needed” and “it didn’t sound good”.

At that time, the rabbi determined that he wanted to take motion.

“The final hour or so he wasn’t getting what he needed, it didn’t look good, it didn’t sound good,” he stated.

“We had been terrified. After I noticed a possibility the place he wasn’t in a great place, I made certain that the 2 gents who had been nonetheless with me, that they had been able to go, that the exit wasn’t too far-off.”

Rabbi Cytron-Walker recalled telling the opposite hostages to get able to run, earlier than hurling a chair at their attacker.

“I advised them to go, I threw a chair on the gunman and I headed for the door,” he stated.

“And all three of us had been capable of get out with out even a shot being fired.”

The three hostages managed to get to the security of regulation enforcement exterior the constructing at round 9:30pm on Saturday evening.

The fourth hostage had been launched by Akram hours earlier, at round 5pm.

Officers then stormed the constructing and the gunman was shot and killed.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker says the incident was ‘terrifying’

(CBS Mornings)

The rabbi credited his coaching as a clergy chief in addition to completely different programs he had taken with officers in recent times for his calm and quick-thinking choice that led to him and the 2 different hostages fleeing to security.

He stated a part of his coaching as clergy is to have a “calm presence” so he “did the perfect I may to do this all through the standoff”.

He has additionally attended programs with the FBI, the Colleyville Police Division, the Anti-Defamation League and Safe Communities Community in recent times, he added.

“They actually train you in these moments that when your life is threatened, you might want to do no matter you possibly can to get to security. That you must do no matter you possibly can to get out,” he stated.

Rabbi Cytron-Walker advised Gayle King that he had welcomed the suspect into the synagogue when he knocked on the door that morning.

He made the suspect a cup of tea and spoke to him for a while earlier than the service started, he stated.

“After I took him in, I stayed with him. Making tea was a possibility for me to speak with him,” he stated.

A hostage is launched to regulation enforcement on Saturday afternoon

(The Dallas Morning Information)

The rabbi stated that “in that second, I didn’t hear something suspicious” however admitted that Akram’s story “didn’t fairly add up”.

“So I used to be a bit of bit curious however that’s not essentially an unusual factor,” he stated.

It was solely after prayers had begun that the suspect pulled out his gun, he recalled.

“I heard a click on, and it may have been something. And it turned out that it was his gun,” the rabbi stated.

The service was being streamed on Fb Dwell because the assault unfolded and the hostage-taker was heard shouting on the livestream earlier than Fb shut it down.

For the following 10-plus hours, the rabbi stated that he and the opposite hostages had been in a “terrifying” scenario.

“It was terrifying. It was overwhelming and we’re nonetheless processing. It’s been loads. It’s fully overwhelming,” he stated.

Rabbi Cytron-Walker stated, whereas their lives had been threatened throughout all the ordeal, the gunman didn’t bodily harm him or the opposite hostages.

“We had been threatened all the time. However no, happily, none of us had been bodily injured,” he stated.

Authorities recognized the gunman as 44-year-old British man Malik Faisal Akram

( )

Investigations are actually below manner on each side of the pond after it emerged that Akram was a British man from Blackburn, the UK, who travelled to the US two weeks earlier than the assault.

Authorities imagine he flew into JFK Airport in New York earlier than shopping for the firearm he used within the assault.

A motive for the assault is unclear, with US officers giving considerably contradictory statements on the place the proof is pointing.

White Home Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan described the hostage scenario as an “act of antisemitism” and “terrorism”.

In the meantime, the FBI stated it believes Akram’s motive was “not particularly associated to the Jewish neighborhood”.

President Joe Biden condemned the assault, calling it an “act of terror”.

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