It took an FBI Hostage Rescue Team until late Saturday night to liberate three remaining hostages taken by a shooter who had disrupted a religious service and started a 10-hour standoff with authorities.
Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller announced during a news conference on Saturday night that all of the hostages had been safely released and that the gunman had been killed.
According to authorities, the gunman first held four individuals hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel, including the rabbi. Six hours later, one of the hostages was released unharmed.
It was just moments before Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the crisis to be ended that local reporters reported hearing the sound of explosions, perhaps flashbangs, and the sound of gunshots.
“Prayers have been answered. All hostages have been freed and are in good health “Abbott made the announcement on Twitter. The FBI stated that they have confirmed the name of the gunman, but that they would not release the information at this time. It was determined that the FBI was still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death, thus they declined to confirm the cause.
The Colleyville Police Department stated that SWAT teams were dispatched to the synagogue in response to emergency calls that began at approximately 10:41 a.m. during the Shabbat service, which was being streamed live on the internet. FBI negotiators made contact with the individual shortly after, who claimed he wanted to talk with a woman who was being held in a federal jail.
There have been no reported casualties among the hostages.
A one-sided conversation that looked to be a phone call could be heard during a Facebook livestream of the service at the Reform Jewish synagogue in Colleyville, which is about 16 miles (26 kilometres) northeast of Fort Worth in the first few hours of the incident. The webcast was interrupted approximately 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (2000 GMT).
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the man could be heard shouting and talking about religion and his sister before the livestream was cut short. According to the publication, the man could be heard constantly screaming that he didn’t want anyone to be wounded and that he believed he was going to die, among other things.
President Joe Biden was updated on the issue, while Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed his concern for the prisoners’ well-being via Twitter.
Barry Klompus, who has been a member of the congregation since it first opened its doors in 1999, said he tuned in to watch the broadcast.
According to Klompus, in a telephone conversation, “it was horrifying to listen to and witness.”
According to an anonymous U.S. official briefed on the situation, the hostage-taker claimed to be the brother of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence in the United States for her 2010 conviction for shooting at soldiers and FBI agents, and that he is demanding that she be released from prison.
Siddiqui is currently being imprisoned in a federal prison in the Fort Worth region, according to court documents. It was confirmed by CNN that the individual was not Siddiqui’s brother, according to Marwa Elbially, a lawyer for the actor who represents Siddiqui. He pleaded with the man to free the captives, claiming that Siddiqui’s family had criticised his “heinous” conduct on the part of the government.
The activities of the individual were denounced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy organisation in the United States.
A statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claimed, “This latest antisemitic attack on Jewish Americans praying at a synagogue is an act of pure evil.”
Klompus stated that he was not aware of any substantial threats to the church in the recent past.
The manager explained that while the company does not have a security officer on staff, it has “what I would consider to be a very good relationship with the local police.”