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Hostages who escaped Texas synagogue say lessons in security training helped save their lives


  • British national Malik Faisal Akram held four people hostage over the weekend at a Texas synagogue.
  • Hostages knew to shield their bodies and position themselves near exits because of security training.
  • While Akram was fatally shot by authorities, all four hostages escaped without injury.

Lessons in security training saved the lives of four individuals who were held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker told the New York Times.

“First of all, we escaped. We weren’t released or freed. We escaped because we had training from the Secure Community Network on what to do in the event of an active shooter. This training saved our lives — I am not speaking in hyperbole here — it saved our lives,” Jeffrey Cohen, vice president of the synagogue and one of the hostages, wrote in a Facebook post.


Cytron-Walker, Cohen, and two other people were taken hostage during a live-streamed service on Sunday. They remained in the synagogue during an hours-long standoff between authorities and the hostage-taker, a suspect identified as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram.

Guidance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Defamation League, and SCN, a nonprofit that provides safety and security resources to the American Jewish community, helped the hostages buy time and ultimately manage to escape, the Times reported.

Cytron-Walker said he positioned himself in a row near an exit and helped other hostages prepare to escape by whispering instructions to them, according to the Times. He also suggested that another hostage retrieve a pizza that had been delivered to the synagogue in order to place them within 20 feet of an exit.

Following the lead of the rabbi, Cohen covertly moved chairs using his feet in order to potentially shield himself from bullets or shrapnel, the Time reported.

As the hostages were instructed to get on their knees, Cytron-Walker said he threw a chair at the hostage-taker, according to the Times. All four hostages were uninjured, and Akram was fatally shot by law enforcement after the 10-hour standoff.

Courtesy By INSIDER

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