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Texas synagogue hostage says gunman advised them to get on their knees moments earlier than daring escape


One of many hostages within the synagogue standoff in Colleyville, Texas, mentioned he thought the gunman was going to kill them shortly earlier than they made their daring escape. Jeffrey Cohen, considered one of three hostages held at gunpoint for 11 hours inside Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday, mentioned the suspect advised them to get on their knees and that he was going to shoot them in the course of the ultimate hour they have been held hostage. 

Cohen advised CBS Dallas-Fort Price on Monday that all through a lot of the ordeal, the hostage-taker was “calm,” and indicated he wouldn’t kill the hostages however that he was ready to die. However, Cohen mentioned, the person’s demeanor modified in “the final half hour or so.”

“He mentioned he was going to shoot every of us, put a bullet in every of us,” Cohen mentioned. “That was the primary time that he mentioned that. After which just some moments later, he mentioned, ‘I am gonna make you get down in your knees, get down in your knees.'” 

Cohen mentioned he stared on the gunman and mouthed, “No.” 

“That glare was the primary time that we had confirmed any aggression towards him. We weren’t subservient, at that time,” Cohen mentioned. “He began backing away instantly and he went and sat down. Now, I did not see him put his gun down. However, I did see him go to pour some soda. And when he did that, Rabbi Charlie [Cytron-Walker] picked up the chair and threw it, yelled, ‘Run.’ I did not see the chair go till I used to be operating.”

Cohen additionally detailed a number of deliberate steps the hostages had taken all through the standoff that made their escape simpler, together with sitting in areas with direct entry to the exit.  

Cohen revealed that he tripped as he was operating away, however he and the opposite hostages made it out of the constructing because the gunman chased them. The hostage-taker, who was killed in the course of the incident, then retreated again inside earlier than an FBI staff went in after him.

It had been reported yesterday that we had been launched or rescued. No. We escaped,” Cohen mentioned.

Cohen mentioned it was emotional seeing his household after his escape. 

“That is after midnight, after we have been debriefed, you understand, tears move. The our bodies shake,” he mentioned. 

The suspect, who has been recognized as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British nationwide, had allowed the hostages to name their households in the course of the standoff, Cohen mentioned. Cohen known as his spouse, daughter and son. 

“I usually didn’t suppose we might get out. So I wished to say one thing,” he mentioned, including that he had stored his composure throughout these quick conversations. “I did not wish to give him any energy by being emotional.” 



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