FBI acknowledges attacker’s death ‘a result of the deadly force’ it used; special agent, rabbi say they recognized deteriorating situation at same time, acted almost simultaneously
COLLEYVILLE, Texas — The gunman who held four people captive at a Texas synagogue in a 10-hour standoff that ended with the hostages escaping and an FBI tactical team rushing in was killed by multiple gunshot wounds, according to a medical examiner, who ruled the death a homicide.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner released initial information from the autopsy of Malik Faisal Akram on Friday, six days after the 44-year-old British citizen took hostages during morning services at Congregation Beth Israel in the Dallas-area suburb of Colleyville.
In Texas, a death being ruled a homicide indicates that one person was killed by another, but does not necessarily mean the killing was a crime.
Matt DeSarno, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Dallas, said at a news conference Friday that Akram’s death “was a result of the deadly force used by the FBI.”
DeSarno, who had attracted attention on Saturday night for saying that the hostage-taker was focused on an issue not specifically connected to the Jewish community, took pains on Friday to stress that the FBI regarded the episode as an act of terrorism that threatened the Jewish community and “intentionally targeted” a house of worship. The act, he said, “was committed by a terrorist espousing an antisemitic worldview.”
“We recognize that the Jewish community in particular has suffered violence and faces very real threats from across the spectrum, from domestic violent extremists to foreign terrorist organizations. And because of that the FBI considers the enduring threats to the community to be among our very highest priorities,” he added.
DeSarno said Akram is believed to have selected the synagogue because it is closest to a federal prison in nearby Fort Worth that houses a “convicted terrorist” with suspected al-Qaeda links. During negotiations, he demanded the release of that prisoner in exchange for letting the hostages free. Though DeSarno did not identify the prisoner, law enforcement officials have identified her as Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year prison sentence after being convicted of shooting at American military personnel after being detained in Afghanistan.
Siddiqui’s attorney said the prisoner had no connection to Akram.
Read More: Times of Israel