A large contingent of federal agents, local police and British anti-terrorism authorities are working to find out how the British man who took four hostages in a synagogue in Colleyville on Saturday came from the north of England to Texas.
Federal law enforcement officials told NBC 5 and our colleagues on NBC News that Malik Faisal Akram entered the United States through JFK International Airport in New York on December 29th.
In New York, a senior law enforcement official told WNBC’s Chief of Investigation Jonathan Dienst that Akram was not on any observation list when he arrived in December. The official said the immigration authorities questioned Akram for several minutes at JFK Airport. He told them he was visiting and was planning to stay at a hotel in Queens, NY.
Investigators are now trying to determine whether Akram went to that hotel or not.
OurCalling, a homeless shelter in Dallas, confirmed Monday that Akram stayed there one night on Jan. 2, suggesting he arrived in Dallas at least two weeks before the attack on the Colleyville Synagogue. OurCalling said in a statement that the shelter has handed over surveillance camera images and videos of Akram to the FBI.
The executive director of another Dallas shelter, Union Gospel Mission, told NBC 5 that federal and local law enforcement officers had instructed the shelter not to discuss the case. CNN previously reported that the Union Gospel Mission had confirmed that Akram had stayed there during his time in Dallas.
President Joe Biden told reporters Sunday that he had been briefed on Akram’s use of homeless shelters in the days before the attack.
‘He apparently spent the first night in a shelter for the homeless. I do not have all the details yet, so I am reluctant to go into more – much more details, “said Biden.
Officials have been reluctant to release more details about their investigation into how Akram traveled from New York to Dallas because they are still in the process of gathering information. Agents are now working across the globe from Dallas to New York to the UK, trying to learn more about Akram, a British citizen who lived near Blackburn, England.
A federal law enforcement official briefed on the case told NBC 5 that the pace of the investigation has not slowed down since the incident Saturday night.
Meanwhile, ATF is still working to learn more about where Akram got the gun he used to take hostages. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation told NBC 5 investigates agents are still in the process of tracking that weapon.
FBI HRT SHOOTED ARMED MAN AFTER Hostages RELEASED
Late Monday, there will also be new details about what happened inside the synagogue when the conflict ended. A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that Akram was shot by the FBI’s hostage rescue team and that the use of force was justified.
Officials had refused to disclose this detail earlier because an internal review of the shooting is underway – which is the standard procedure.
It is still unclear how many shots were fired, or whether there was an exchange of fire between Akram and the FBI agents.
Earlier in the day, two of the hostages, Rabbis Charlie Cytron-Walker and Jeffrey Cohen, shared their respective stories of their escape from the gunman. Cohen said on Facebook that Cytron-Walker was shouting about running when he threw a chair at the gunman, giving them time to flee out of a nearby door.
NBC 5’s Eva Parks contributed to this report.