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Texas rabbi describes daring escape from hostage situation, says he threw chair at gunman

Texas Synagogue hostage
Posted at 10:39 AM, Jan 17, 2022

COLLEYVILLE, Texas — The rabbi of a Texas synagogue says he and two others made a daring escape from a hostage situation on Saturday evening.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker told “CBS Mornings” on Monday that he threw a chair at the gunman and then escaped the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue after a 10-hour standoff.

Another man held hostage, Jeffrey R. Cohen, described the ordeal on Facebook.

“First of all, we escaped. We weren’t released or freed,” Cohen said.

Shortly after the hostages made their escape, SWAT teams entered the building and fatally shot the suspect, identified as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British national.

Cytron-Walker told CBS that he let the gunman in Saturday because he appeared to need shelter. He says the man was not threatening or suspicious at first. Later, he heard a gun click as he was praying.

During the hostage negotiations, Akram demanded the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.

The FBI on Sunday night issued a statement calling the ordeal “a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted.”

Two other suspects were arrested in the U.K. Monday in connection with the incident.