Rabbi of Texas describes throwing a chair at a seal before escaping the synagogue confrontation



The rabbi of a Texas synagogue where a gunman was taken hostage Saturday during live services said he threw a chair at his captor before escaping with two more after a lengthy confrontation, accrediting the past security training for having left himself and his congregants safely.

Said Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker CBS Mornings On Monday he left the gunman at Beth Israel Congregation Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, about 40 miles (40 km) northwest of Dallas, because he looked like he needed shelter.

He said the man was not threatening or suspicious at first. Cyrton-Walker later said he heard a gunshot while praying.

Jeffrey R. Cohen, another man who was taken hostage, described the ordeal on Facebook on Monday.

“First of all, we escaped. We were not released or released,” said Cohen, who was one of four people in the synagogue for services that many other members of the Beth Israel congregation were watching online. The first hostage was released shortly after 5 p.m.

“I threw a chair”

Cohen said the men worked to keep the gunman engaged and talked to him while giving them a lecture. At one point, the situation seemed to evolve and Cohen said the man told them to get on their knees.

Cohen remembered getting up from his chair and slowly shaking his head and saying “no.” As the gunman moved to sit, Cohen said the rabbi called for them to flee.

“The exit wasn’t too far away,” Cytron-Walker said.

“I told them to leave. I threw a chair at the gunman and headed for the door. And the three of us were able to get out without firing a shot.”

TARGET | British police arrest 2 teenagers in connection with hostage-taking in Texas synagogue:

The hostages are safe after an 11-hour standoff at the Texas Synagogue

Four hostages have been rescued after being held for 11 hours inside a Texas synagogue by a gunman demanding the release from prison of a Pakistani woman convicted of shooting at FBI soldiers and agents. 2:01

Authorities identified the kidnapper as 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, who was killed Saturday night after the last three hostages left the Colleyville synagogue around 9 p.m.

The FBI issued a statement Sunday night in which it described the ordeal as “a terrorism-related issue, in which the Jewish community was the target” and said the Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating.

Canadian synagogues urged vigilance

Leaders of the Jewish community are advising Canadian synagogues to increase their level of vigilance in the event of an “imitation” attack following the Texas hostage situation.

Toronto police said they have also increased patrols around synagogues and other Jewish community buildings, although they say there are no known threats at this time.

B’nai Brith, a group that monitors anti-Semitism and advises the Jewish community on security, says it has advised Jewish institutions to take extra security precautions.

Michael Mostyn, executive director of B’nai Brith Canada, says the possibility of imitating acts of violence is being taken seriously, noting that Jews make up just over one per cent of Canada’s population, but are victims of 60 percent of hate crimes. aimed at religious minorities.

B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn attends a press conference in Ottawa on April 29, 2019. Mostyn says the group is seriously considering imitating acts of violence in Canada. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)

Leaders of the Canadian Jewish community spoke this weekend with Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino about security after the Texas event.

Authorities did not say who shot the hostage, saying he was still under investigation.

The investigation spread to England, where on Sunday afternoon Manchester police announced that two teenagers had been arrested in connection with the confrontation.

Greater Manchester police tweeted that anti-terrorist agents had made the arrests, but did not say whether the couple was facing any charges.

Akram, whose family was called Faisal, was from Blackburn, an industrial city in the north-west of England. His family said he had been “suffering from mental health problems”.

“We would also like to add that any attack on any human being, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, etc., is wrong and should always be condemned,” wrote his brother, Gulbar Akram.

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