Hostages Safe After Texas Synagogue Standoff; Captor Dead

An armored law enforcement vehicle is seen in the area where a man has reportedly taken people hostage at a synagogue during services that were being streamed live, in Colleyville, Texas, Jan. 15, 2022.

COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS — Four hostages are safe and their captor is dead after an hourslong standoff that began when the man took over services at a Texas synagogue where he could be heard ranting on a livestream and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.

One hostage held Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville was released during the standoff; three others got out about 9 p.m. when an FBI SWAT team entered the building, authorities said. The hostage-taker was killed and FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said a team would investigate “the shooting incident.”

Video from Dallas TV station WFAA shows people running out a door of the synagogue, and then a man holding a gun opening the same door just seconds later, before he turns around and closes the door. Moments later, several rounds of gunfire can be heard, followed by the sound of an explosion.

FBI and police spokespeople declined to answer questions about who shot the man.

DeSarno said the hostage-taker was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community, and there was no immediate indication that the man was part of any broader plan. But DeSarno said the agency’s investigation “will have global reach.”

It wasn’t clear why the attacker chose the synagogue.

Law enforcement officials who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity earlier said that the hostage-taker demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida. He also said he wanted to be able to speak with her, according to the officials. Siddiqui is in federal prison in Texas.

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