The rabbi of a Texas synagogue that was the scene of a hostage stand-off recounted on Monday how he threw a chair at the gunman, allowing those being held to escape.
During the “last hour” of the 10-hour ordeal Saturday their captor “wasn’t getting what he wanted,” Charlie Cytron-Walker, rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in the small town of Colleyville, near Dallas, told CBS.
“In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening,” the rabbi said in a statement of terrorist Malik Faisal Akram, who “wasn’t getting what he wanted.”
“It didn’t look good. It didn’t sound good. We were terrified,” he told “CBS Mornings” Monday. He said he recalled the security training warning that “when your life is threatened, you need to do whatever you can to get to safety.”
“The exit wasn’t too far away,” Cytron-Walker said. “I told them to go. I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door. And all three of us were able to get out with even a shot being fired.”
Another man held hostage, Jeffrey R. Cohen, wrote on Facebook Monday that at one point during the siege, the gunman ordered the trio to their knees. Instead, Cohen said, he reared up in his chair, slowly moving his head and mouthing “no” with the group fleeing as Akram moved to return to his own chair. “We escaped. We weren’t released or freed,” Cohen wrote.
Akram, 44, was shot and killed after the hostages ran out. Authorities have declined to say who shot Akram, saying it was still under investigation.
Although Cytron-Walker and his congregants had been “threatened the entire time,” the rabbi said that “fortunately, none of us were physically injured.” He was convinced that the “multiple security courses” his synagogue had held with police, the FBI and other groups were crucial to their survival.
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