x
Breaking News
More () »

FBI identifies hostage-taker at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Texas

The FBI's evidence response team on Sunday continued to investigate the hostage situation, along with the FBI's North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force.

COLLEYVILLE, Texas — Authorities have identified the Colleyville synagogue hostage-taker as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen.

The FBI office in Dallas announced Akram's identity on Sunday morning.

No more information about Akram was released by authorities. 

The FBI's evidence response team on Sunday continued to investigate the hostage situation, along with the FBI's North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

The terrorism task force "will continue to follow investigative leads," according to a news release from the FBI.

An FBI shooting incident review team will also investigate the case and "conduct a thorough, factual, and objective investigation of the events," the release said.

Anyone with more information about the hostage situation is asked to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or submit tips online at tips.fbi.gov.

The investigation is also going through England. In a statement just before 5:30 p.m. CT Sunday, the Greater Manchester Police Department said the Counter Terrorism Policing North West group detained two teenagers in connection to the North Texas incident. The department took the two into custody for questioning, but they were later released

Further details on the two teenagers and any possible connection have not been released.

The hostage situation ended Saturday night when three hostages escaped the Congregational Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. Another hostage had already been released earlier in the day.

Akram, who died at the end of the incident, held four people hostage inside the synagogue for nearly 12 hours Saturday, authorities have said. It is unclear how Akram died, as officials have not released further information.

Exclusive video from WFAA showed the dramatic end to the standoff, as three hostages escaped safely shortly before 10 p.m.

SWAT officers with the Colleyville Police Department, as well as officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety and FBI, initially responded at 10:40 a.m. to the scene in the 6100 block of Pleasant Run Road near Tinker Road and State Highway 121 in Colleyville.

Police soon evacuated residents near the immediate area of the synagogue within the Dallas suburb, located 16 miles northeast of Fort Worth.

As the hostage situation unfolded, a Facebook Live stream from the synagogue was airing a fixed-camera shot, showing the pulpit. The faint voice of a man, presumed to be the hostage-taker, could be heard in the background, but the footage did not show any other activity. The stream was cut shortly before 2 p.m., but the hostage continued as FBI crisis negotiators stayed in constant contact with the hostage-taker.

Around 5 p.m., one male hostage was released. According to police, that man, who hasn't yet been identified, was reunited with his family. 

Citing sources familiar with the ongoing situation, both ABC News and the Associated Press reported that the individual holding the hostages was armed.

As the standoff dragged on into the nighttime hours, Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller said that the FBI called in a special rescue team to help bring the situation to a close.

The hostage rescue team then "breached the synagogue" and rescued the three remaining hostages, Miller added. Among them was believed to be the synagogue's rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker

Multiple sources said that the suspect inside was demanding to speak to Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida, according to the AP. A connection between Siddiqui and the hostage-taker was not clear. 

Initially, law enforcement did not confirm a motive during their news conference Saturday night and said it appeared the incident was not targeted toward the Jewish community. However, subsequent messaging from a joint intelligence bulletin from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the National Counterterrorism Center suggested that the attack "underscores the enduring nature of violent threats posed to Jewish communities from terrorists and perpetrators of hate crimes." 

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out