Worshippers invited a stranger into a Texas synagogue when he knocked on their door and offered him tea before he brandished a gun and held them hostage in a 10-hour siege the FBI called a “terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted.”
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the four congregants taken captive on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, told CBS on Monday that he and others managed to escape after he threw a chair at the hostage-taker and then rushed for an exit door.
The FBI identified the man as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen.
“When I took him in, I stayed with him. Making tea was an opportunity for me to talk to him. And in that moment, I didn’t hear anything suspicious. Some of his story didn’t quite add up, so I was a little bit curious, but that’s not necessarily an uncommon thing,” the rabbi said.
The rabbi returned to prayer, after which he said he “heard a click – and it could have been anything – but it turned out it was his gun.”