Sun, 04 Jun 2023

Hostage situation at Texas synagogue, SWAT deployed
16 Jan 2022, 08:12 GMT+10

Assailant's actions and negotiations with police were partly livestreamed on Facebook

An unidentified gunman has taken hostages at the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday. SWAT officers have been deployed to the evacuated area.

The Colleyville Police confirmed reports on Saturday that the area surrounding the synagogue was being evacuated, and SWAT officers were being deployed to deal with a hostage situation.

Audio of the assailant speaking to police could be heard on a Facebook livestream, though the feed was cut off soon after police arrived. The audio is not clear, but local media reported the man saying he supposedly does not want to hurt anyone, while reportedly mentioning his sister and Islam.

At another point, however, the suspect did threaten that all the hostages would die if anyone entered the building. "I'm going to die. Don't cry for me," he could be heard saying, shortly before the livestream was cut.

According to one Twitter thread from reporter Arieh Kovler, the suspect asked to speak to his sister during the livestream, referred to his "six beautiful children" and alleged that he was homeless. He was said to be negotiating with police when the feed ended.

Colleyville Police Sgt. Dara Nelson told Dallas News, that negotiators have made contact with a suspect and are in negotiations to bring the situation to a "safe resolution." The identity of the gunman is not known, nor the number of people inside or their potential injuries. According to the synagogue's calendar, their Shabbat service began at 10am on Saturday.

The FBI and state Department of Public Safety are also involved in the police response, according to Nelson.



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