Texas rabbi threw chair to escape gunman
The rabbi caught up in the Texas synagogue stand-off has described how he escaped by throwing a chair at the British gunman holding him hostage.
Malik Faisal Akram, originally from Blackburn in Lancashire, was shot dead when the FBI stormed Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville on Saturday night.
Moments before, three "terrified" hostages had managed to escape from the building as the 44-year-old's behaviour became more erratic.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker told CBS: "The last hour or so of the standoff, he wasn't getting what he wanted.
"He was getting... it didn't look good. It didn't sound good.
"We were very... we were terrified.
"And when I saw an opportunity where he wasn't in a good position I asked, made sure that the two gentlemen who were still with me that they were ready to go.
"The exit wasn't too far away. 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 without even a shot being fired."
It is not yet clear how Akram, who had a criminal record in the UK, was able to travel to the US two weeks ago.
According to reports, he stayed at a homeless shelter and is believed to have bought a gun on the street before taking four people hostage at the synagogue on Saturday, one of whom was released after around six hours.
At one point he demanded the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of trying to kill US army officers in Afghanistan, and is in prison in Texas.
US President Joe Biden branded the incident "an act of terror" and UK police are working with authorities in America on the investigation.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she had spoken to her US counterpart, Alejandro Mayorkas, and offered "the full support" of the UK police and security services in the investigation.
Two teenagers have been arrested in the UK as part of the inquiry.
The FBI in Dallas had earlier said there was nothing to suggest a wider terror plot.
Akram's family said they were "absolutely devastated" by what had happened and "do not condone any of his actions", according to a statement that was shared on the Blackburn Muslim Community Facebook page.
Condemning what had happened, the statement from his family said: "We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologise wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident."
US officials believe Akram had a visa, arrived at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York around two weeks ago and bought the handgun used in the incident on the street.
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