The rabbi who was held hostage for more than 11 hours inside his Colleyville synagogue said that he and members of his congregation escaped after he threw a chair at the hostage-taker, according to a Monday interview with CBS Mornings.
Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker told CBS Mornings that the hostage-taker, later identified as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, knocked on his synagogue door and Cytron-Walker let him in, thinking the man needed shelter. Cytron-Walker made him tea and talked to him.
“It was terrifying. It was overwhelming. We’re still processing”: Rabbi Charlie Cytron Walker shares what he experienced inside the Texas synagogue where four hostages were held at gunpoint over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/ZX8DrQkjJj
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) January 17, 2022
The rabbi said some of the man’s story didn’t add up, but that’s not uncommon, and he didn’t suspect anything strange for a long time.
Then, when the congregation was praying and the rabbi’s back was turned, he heard a click and realized it was Akram’s gun.
“It was overwhelming, and we’re still processing,” he said. “It’s been a lot. It’s been completely overwhelming.”
Cytron-Walker said during the last hour of the situation, Akram wasn’t getting what he wanted and grew frustrated.
“It didn’t look good,” he said “It didn’t sound good. We were terrified.”
When he saw an opportunity, Cytron-Walker said, he threw a chair at the gunman and ran out along with the three other people who were being held hostage inside.