Malik Faisal Akram was the suspect who took hostages at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. The 44-year-old British man was killed in the January 15, 2022, incident at Congregation Beth Israel. The FBI and local authorities are still investigating, and British officials said they are also involved in the probe. He was identified in a statement from the FBI. Four hostages, all adults, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, were held in the synagogue for several hours before being released uninjured.
“The FBI’s Evidence Response Team (ERT) will continue processing evidence at the synagogue. At this time, there is no indication that any other individuals involved,” the FBI’s Dallas Field Office said in a statement obtained by Heavy. “The FBI’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes member agencies from across the region, will continue to follow investigative leads. An FBI Incident Review Team will conduct a thorough, factual and objective investigation of the events.” From Heavy
ABC News first reported the fact the suspect claimed to be Muhammad Siddiqui but indicated law enforcement authorities were still trying to verify whether it was true. The accused Colleyville, Texas, synagogue hostage taker barged into religious services and was recorded on Facebook live ranting about religion and dying, according to ABC News.
CBS News Nicole Sganga stated: “. . . .the FBI believes Akram was able to enter the synagogue “by claiming to be a homeless man. … Investigators assessed through communication w/ the suspect that he appeared ’emotionally unstable.’ (Heavy.com)
CNN reported that the FBI was at the scene. “The FBI negotiators are the ones who have contact with the person in the building,” Colleyville Police Sgt Dara Nelson told CNN, adding that there is “no threat to the general public.”
Reuters reports that after it was over, U.S. President Joe Biden, who was in Philadelphia with first lady Jill Biden for a visit commemorating the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., called the hostage-taking “an act of terror.” “Allegedly – I don’t have all the facts, nor does the attorney general – but allegedly the assertion was he got the weapons on the street,” Biden said.
In addition, the Vice President said, “What happened yesterday at Congregation Beth Israel is a reminder that we must speak up and combat antisemitism and hate wherever it exists,” U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Everyone has a right to pray, work, study, and spend time with loved ones not as the other – but as us.”
Per Newsweek, “On Sunday on State of The Union, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul said that “this is a disturbing case that demonstrates that antisemitism is unfortunately alive and well. We haven’t seen the radicalized attacks in a few years now, and it’s disturbing to see it raise its ugly head again.”
Malik’s brother Gulbar, in a Facebook post, mentioned mental health issues and the loss of a younger sibling three months ago. Gulbar posted on Facebook that the suspect, from the industrial town of Blackburn, in the north of England, suffered from mental illness and said the family had spent all night at the Blackburn police station “liaising with Faisal, the negotiators, FBI etc.”
“There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender,” Gulbar wrote on the Blackburn Muslim Community’s Facebook page.
He said the FBI was due to fly into the UK “later today,” saying that the family as a result could say little more.
“We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident,” the brother wrote.
The man was heard having a one-sided phone conversation during a Facebook livestream of the service. The man could be heard ranting and talking about religion and his sister, repeatedly saying he did not want to see anyone hurt, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
A Facebook post the brother continued: “A few minutes later a firefight has taken place and he was shot and killed. There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender… obviously our priority will be to get him back to the UK for his funeral prayers, although we have been warned it could take weeks.”
The post also mentioned the death of a younger sibling “barely three months ago”. It said FBI agents were due to fly to the UK on Sunday, possibly to interview Akram’s family. It began and concluded by saying the whole Akram family condemns the hostage taker’s actions.
A chance remark caught on the livestream gives one additional detail about Malik Akram’s life.
“Don’t f***ing cry over me, okay?” the man tells the negotiator at one point. “I left six beautiful kids. I didn’t cry… my heart has become stone.”The Independent
Additional Source: US Department of Justice