Marathon Synagogue Standoff Comes to a Swift End as Elite Hostage Rescue Force Arrives on Scene
A hostage situation at a Texas synagogue ended Saturday night with all hostages safe.
The FBI and police in Colleyville, outside Dallas, said the man who took four hostages earlier Saturday was dead, according to WFAA-TV. Details of his death were not released.
The incident began at about 10:40 a.m and ended shortly after 9:30 p.m. local time “after a loud bang and gunfire were heard,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted news that the ordeal had ended.
All hostages are out alive and safe.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 16, 2022
The FBI had been negotiating with the man, who released one hostage at about 5 p.m.
Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller said a special rescue team was summoned.
“The FBI called out the hostage rescue team, which is an elite hostage rescue force out of Quantico, Virginia,” Miller said, according to WFAA. “They immediately got on a plane and flew down here. I think they brought 60 or 70 people from Washington, D.C., to come and help with the situation.”
The elite team “breached the synagogue” and rescued the three remaining hostages, Miller said.
Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of FBI Dallas, praised those who brought the standoff to an end.
“I’m extremely proud of the team of negotiators, the FBI agents, and local police officers, who worked all day long engaging the subject and likely saved the lives of the subjects just through their engagement,” DeSarno said, according to WFAA.
“It’s very likely this situation would have ended very badly early on in the day had we not had professional, consistent negotiation with the subject.”
Video of the raid that ended the standoff is below:
Desano said authorities identified the suspect, but are not revealing his identity at this time. He said FBI offices in London and Tel Aviv, Israel, were involved, according to CNN.
CNN reported that it was told by Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Sunday that the government was “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities,” but it was unclear if this was the man who took the hostages.
I am prepared to wait and see if he was British but the quote “He was heard to demand the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui” suggests, at the very least, he has closer ties to Pakistan than Britain. https://t.co/8GImcROGnZ
— Doryrapter ?? (@FifeRight14) January 16, 2022
CNN reported a link between the hostage-taker and Aafia Siddiqui, who is now serving an 86-year sentence after being convicted on charges of attempted murder and armed assault on Americans in Afghanistan.
“We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community, but we’ll continue to work to find motive,” DeSarno said.
The Beth Israel synagogue was livestreaming a Shabbat service on Facebook when the hostages were taken.
Before the livestream ended, indistinct audio could be heard of what sounded like police negotiations, according to the Star-Telegram.
The man claimed to have explosives, the Star-Telegram reported, but police have not said whether weapons were found.
Fox News reported that at one point, the man said, “I will die.”
“I’m going to die at the end of this, alright? Are you listening? I am going to die. OK? So don’t cry for me,” he said.
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