Hostage-taking gunman killed by FBI in Texas synagogue named as Briton Malik Faisal Akram

16 January 2022, 17:46 | Updated: 16 January 2022, 22:04

The Texas hostage taker has been named as Briton Malik Faisal Akram
The Texas hostage taker has been named as Briton Malik Faisal Akram. Picture: Getty

By Megan Hinton

The FBI have named the man who was shot dead in Texas after taking four people hostage, as British Citizen, Malik Faisal Akram.

Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno of the FBI Dallas Field Office confirmed today the identity of the Colleyville, Texas hostage taker as British Citizen, Malik Faisal Akram, 44.  

The man was killed in a "shooting incident" after the FBI entered the building at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday.

All four hostages were unharmed.

Akram's brother Gulbar, today issued a statement stating he had liaised "with Faisal, the negotiators, FBI etc" during the siege but "there was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender".

He continued: "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.

"We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned."

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team has said they will continue processing evidence at the synagogue but stated at this time "there is no indication that other individuals are involved".

Suspect dead and hostages released from stand-off at synagogue in Texas

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US President Joe Biden said, in an update to the press, that he did not have all the details but it was believed Akram had "got the weapons on the street", adding: "He purchased them when he landed."

He said there were "no bombs that we know of", and that Akram is thought to have "spent the first night in a homeless shelter".

UK counter-terrorism officers are also working with authorities in the US after the British hostage-taker was shot dead after an hours-long stand-off at a synagogue.

Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally for Counter Terror Policing North West said: "Firstly, our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the terrible events that took place in Texas on 15 January.

"We can confirm that the suspect, who is deceased, is 44 year old Malik Faisal Akram, originally from the Blackburn area of Lancashire."I can also confirm that Counter Terror Policing North West is assisting with the investigation being led by the US Authorities.

"Police forces in the region will continue to liaise with their local communities, including the Jewish community, and will put in place any necessary measures to provide reassurance to them.

"We continue to urge the public to report anything that might be linked to terrorism to police, by calling the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 – your call could save lives.”

During the incident - which saw police first called at 11am and ended with the release of the final hostages at around 9pm - the man could be heard ranting on a livestream in what appeared to be a British accent.

Reports say a live feed of the synagogue service showed the suspect speaking with an English accent, at one point saying: "What the f*** is wrong with America?"He also said "you got to do something... I don't want to see this guy dead" and "don't cry for me, I’m going to die" just before the feed cut.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, said it stopped the broadcast.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss condemned the "act of terrorism and anti-semitism", while the British Ambassador to the United States Karen Pierce said British authorities are providing "full support to Texas and US law enforcement agencies".

The man is said to have demanded the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill US army officers in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters after the incident, FBI special agent in charge Matt DeSarno said they believed the man was "singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community", and added they will continue to "work to find motive".

Confirming that the hostage-taker had died, he said there would be "an independent investigation of the shooting incident".

One hostage who had been held was released during the stand-off and the three others got out when an FBI Swat team entered the building, authorities in the US said.

Ms 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.

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"We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate."

Earlier, US law enforcement officials said the man had demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al Qaida, who is in prison in Texas.

The officials revealed that he said he wanted to be able to speak to her.

While a number of people were reported to have heard the hostage-taker refer to Siddiqui as his "sister" on the livestream, her brother is said not to have been involved.

John Floyd, board chairman for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and long-time legal counsel for Siddiqui's brother, said his client was not the person responsible for the "heinous" incident.

Mr Floyd condemned what had happened as "wicked", and said the person involved "has nothing to do with Dr Aafia, her family, or the global campaign to get justice for Dr Aafia".

A Texas resident, Victoria Francis, told the Associated Press news agency that she watched the livestream for about an hour before it was taken down.

"He was just all over the map. He was pretty irritated and the more irritated he got, he'd make more threats, like 'I'm the guy with the bomb. If you make a mistake, this is all on you.' And he'd laugh at that," she said.

"He was clearly in extreme distress."

This story is being updated.

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