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In his words: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker describes being held hostage in Colleyville

Rabbi Cytron-Walker says at first, they thought the hostage-taker was seeking shelter.

COLLEYVILLE, Texas — We are following new developments in the aftermath of that siege at a North Texas synagogue over the weekend.

Authorities in England have arrested two teenagers in connection with the case. The teens' ages and genders have not been released but UK counter-terrorism police confirm the two are being questioned.

The man who held a rabbi and three others hostage was a British national named Malik Faisal Akram.  His brother told the New York times Monday that Akram had mental health issues.

During the standoff, Akram was reportedly demanding to speak to Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist in prison in Texas.  

Akram was killed by the FBI just moments after the hostages escaped.

Monday morning, the rabbi who orchestrated the escape spoke about the terrifying ordeal.  

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker says he and three members of Congregation Beth Israel were threatened by Akram.  He says he tried to remain calm during the almost 12-hour standoff and talked with the suspect, but when he saw an opportunity to escape, the hostages made a run for it.

“I made sure that the two gentlemen who were still with me, that they were ready to go,” he said. “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.”

RELATED: North Texas hostage situation triggers calls for action against anti-Semitism

In exclusive video shot by our sister station, WFAA, you can see the hostages escape out a side door. Moments later, the suspect chased after them, pointing his gun, but quickly retreated and went back inside the synagogue.

He was shot and killed by authorities.  

Rabbi Cytron-Walker says the standoff has been traumatic but they will overcome the experience with the love and support of the community.

On Monday, CBS Mornings spoke with one of those hostages – Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker about being held inside the synagogue.

Below are some of the questions asked to Rabbi Cytron-Walker during the interview and his responses.

How are you processing what happened at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville over the weekend?

How were you able to stay calm when you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t appear to mind dying?

The hostage-taker at first knocked on the door of the synagogue, apparently in need of shelter. At what point, did things turn and you realized he wasn’t there for shelter?


Were you or any of the hostages ever physically hurt or threatened by this man?

Rabbi Cytron-Walker describes how he and the other hostages were able to get away

Have you thought about going back to your congregation, back into this building?

This was the interview in its entirety, as seen on CBS Mornings

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