On Sunday, the FBI identified the gunman who was shot dead after taking four hostages in a dramatic 10-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram.
On Saturday morning, Akram held four people captive at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, at one point demanding the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted and imprisoned for trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.
The synagogue was stormed, then a loud bang was heard. Few moments after that, the hostages walked free. None of the hostages required medical attention.
The standoff ended hours later, around 9 p.m., when an elite FBI SWAT team stormed the synagogue, killing Akram. All four hostages—including the congregation’s rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker—made it out safely.
Malik Faisal Akram has been identified as a British citizen whom was from Blackburn, Lancashire. As of right now, it is still unclear why Akram targeted that specific Beth Israel synagogue.
President Joe Biden—decrying the siege as “an act of terror”—said he’d only spent a couple weeks in the U.S. and slept in a homeless shelter on his first night in the country. Biden added that he “allegedly” bought the gun used in the attack “on the street.”
On Sunday morning, the Blackburn Muslim Community shared a statement from Akram’s brother, identified as Gulbar Akram, who said his sibling suffered from “mental health issues.” He added that his family had been working with the feds and hostage negotiators as the crisis unfolded.
“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,” he wrote.
The Blackburn Muslim Community urged its members to “avoid taking part in the sin of backbiting” as authorities continue to investigate the attack.
Foreign Office confirmed that the man was British, while the Metropolitan Police said that counterterrorism officers were in contact with US authorities and the FBI. Foreign secretary Liz Truss tweeted:
“My thoughts are with the Jewish community and all those affected by the appalling act in Texas. We condemn this act of terrorism and anti-semitism.
“We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate.”
FBI special agent in charge Matt DeSarno said the bureau believed the man was “singularly focused on one issue” and that it was “not specifically related to the Jewish community”, adding that it would continue to “work to find [a] motive”.
“We can confirm that the suspect, who is deceased, is 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, originally from the Blackburn area of Lancashire.Assistant chief constable Dominic Scally, speaking on behalf of Counter Terrorism Policing North West
“I can also confirm that Counter Terrorism Policing North West is assisting with the investigation being led by the US Authorities.
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