Texas Synagogue hostage-taker stayed in shelters around the area

COLLEYVILLE (Texas) -- The armed man who held four people hostage in a standoff that lasted 10 hours at a Texas synagogue in Texas had been living in local homeless shelters for the past two weeks and was dropped at one of them by someone he seemed to know.

18 January 2022 Tuesday 12:13
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Texas Synagogue hostage-taker stayed in shelters around the area

Malik Faisal Akram (44-year-old British citizen) was taken hostage by the hostage-taker. He was brought to the shelter in Dallas by a man who hugged and had conversations with him. Wayne Walker, CEO and pastor at OurCalling, which offers services for homeless people, said that he met Malik Faisal Akram on Jan. 2.


Walker said that Walker dropped him off by someone who looked like he was in a relationship with him. Walker also said they had turned over video and photos to the FBI.


A spokeswoman for the FBI said Monday night that they didn't have any information to confirm Akram's time at OurCalling. According to the FBI, there is no evidence that any other hostage-taker was suspected.


Rabbi Charlie Cytron Walker told CBS Mornings that Akram was in need of shelter and he had let him into Congregation Beth Israel Saturday morning. Colleyville is a town of around 26,000 people, located about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Dallas.

Cytron-Walker stated that the man was not suspicious or threatening at first. However, he later heard a gun clicking while he was praying.


The hostage took the rabbi along with three other men who were part of the livestreamed service when it was taken hostage. The hostage released just before 5 p.m. Cytron Walker and two other hostages escaped at 9 p.m. Cytron Walker threw a chair at Cytron Walker, who was still in control of the gunman.


Cytron-Walker stated that "the exit wasn't too distant." I told them to go. I pointed a chair at him and headed towards the door. All three of us managed to escape without firing a single shot.


After the hostages fled, Akram was shot and killed. Authorities declined to identify Akram's shooter, stating that it was still being investigated.


Dallas TV station WFAA captured the end of the standoff. It showed people running out of a synagogue's door, followed by a man with a gun opening that same door seconds later. He then turned around and closed the door. A few seconds later, several shots were heard and then an explosion.


Sunday night, the FBI released a statement describing the incident as "a terrorist-related matter" and stating that the Joint Terrorism Task Force was investigating. The FBI noted that Akram repeatedly spoke during negotiations about Akram, a prisoner serving an 86 year sentence in the U.S. This statement was made in response to comments made Saturday by the FBI's Dallas field agent that Akram had spoken repeatedly during negotiations about a prisoner serving an 86-year sentence.


Akram was heard ranting over a Facebook livestream and demanding the release Aafia SIDDIQUI, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is suspected of being connected to al-Qaida. Siddiqui was convicted for trying to kill U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan.


"The standoff was over for about an hour, and he wasn’t getting what he wanted. It didn't look right. It didn't sound right. We were afraid," Cytron Walker told CBS Mornings.


Cytron-Walker, a Methodist minister, said that the number of well-wishes, kindness, and compassion received at Monday's service was overwhelming.


Cytron-Walker expressed gratitude for the kindness and compassion she received.


He said, "While not many of us are doing well right now," he added.


The investigation grew to England where police in Manchester, England announced late Sunday that two teenage boys were being held in connection with the standoff. Greater Manchester Police stated that counter-terrorism officers made the arrests, but didn't say if the pair were facing any charges.


Two U.S. law enforcement officers confirmed to The Associated Press that the teenagers were Akram's children. One official said that investigators believe Akram had been in touch with his sons during the hours leading up to the standoff. They are now trying to determine what information he might have shared with them. Officials could not speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, so they spoke under oath.


British media, including The Guardian, reported Tuesday that Akram was under investigation by MI5, the domestic security agency, for a possible terrorist threat in 2020. According to reports, authorities concluded that Akram did not pose a threat and closed the investigation.


The Home Office of Britain did not respond to the reports immediately.


The episode was branded a terrorist act by President Joe Biden. Biden claimed that Akram had allegedly bought a weapon from the streets while speaking to Philadelphia reporters on Sunday.


According to an anonymous source familiar with the matter, federal investigators believe Akram bought the handgun used for the hostage-taking during a private sale. The person spoke under condition of anonymity as the investigation is ongoing. A law enforcement official stated that Akram arrived in New York at Kennedy Airport about two weeks ago.


According to an American official, Akram entered the U.S. with a tourist visa from Great Britain. The information was not meant to be made public. According to the Metropolitan Police in London, its counter-terrorism officers were cooperating with U.S. authorities.


Priti Patel, the U.K.'s Home Secretary, told the House of Commons Monday that she had spoken with Alejandro Mayorkas in the U.S. and offered her "the full support of the British police and security services" in the investigation.


He stayed at the OurCalling facility Jan. 2 and then moved to another Dallas shelter for homeless people.


Bruce Butler, the CEO of Union Gospel Mission Dallas, said that Akram stayed at Union Gospel Mission Dallas for three nights from Jan. 6 to Jan. 13. Their records show that Akram left the shelter on Jan. 13, two days after he took hostages at the synagogue.


According to law enforcement officials, Akram used his cellphone to communicate with other people during negotiations.


Although it was not clear why Akram chose the synagogue for her sentence, Siddiqui is currently in Fort Worth.


Siddiqui's Texas attorney said Monday that Siddiqui has no connection to Akram.


Marwa Elbially stated that "She stated from the beginning, when she was sentenced, that she does not wish any violence to be done in her name"


His family called him Faisal. Akram was originally from Blackburn in northwest England. His family stated that he was suffering from mental health problems.


"We also want to add that any attack against any human being, whether it be a Jew or Christian, Muslim, etc., would be unacceptable." Gulbar Akram, his brother, wrote that this was wrong and should be condemned.

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