The White House says Colleyville hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram did not raise a red flag – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) The gunman who took four people hostage in the Colleyville Synagogue Congregation Beth Israel in a 10-hour fight that ended in his death on Saturday was checked against police databases before entering the United States, but did not travel. red flags, the White House said Tuesday. January 18th.

Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, arrived in the United States at Kennedy Airport in New York on a tourist visa about two weeks ago, officials said.

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He spent time in homeless shelters in the Dallas area before the attack.

Malik Faisal Akram (Credit: OurCalling)

Akram was not thought to be included in the Terrorist Screening Database, a list of known or suspected terrorists maintained by the FBI and shared with a number of federal agencies, two law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

Had he been with, it would have been extremely difficult for him to get into the country.

“Our understanding, and of course we are still investigating this, is that he was checked against US government databases several times before entering the country, and the US government did not have any derogatory information about the individual in our systems at the time of entry. Said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

She added: “We are definitely looking back … what happened to learn every possible lesson we can to prevent attacks like this in the future.”

British media, including the Guardian, reported on Tuesday that Akram was being investigated by the domestic intelligence service MI5 as a possible “terrorist threat” in 2020, but authorities concluded he posed no danger and the investigation was completed.

The UK Home Office did not immediately comment on the reports.

The case once again illustrated the difficulty of identifying potential lone wolf invaders, despite the US government’s enormous progress in its anti-terrorism campaign since 9/11.

The standoff in Colleyville, a city of about 26,000 people 30 miles northwest of Dallas, ended after the last hostages ran out of the synagogue and an FBI SWAT team rushed in.

Akram was killed, although authorities have refused to say who shot him.

President Joe Biden called the episode a terrorist act.

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Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the hostages, told CBS that he had locked Akram into the Beth Israel congregation because he appeared to need shelter.

The rabbi said the man was not threatening or suspicious at first, but later he heard a gun click while he was praying.

A hostage was released hours later, and the rabbi and two others later fled after Cytron-Walker threw a chair at the gunman.

During the break, Akram could be heard on a Facebook livestream demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having links to al-Qaeda and convicted of attempting to kill US troops in Afghanistan. The prison where Siddiqui is serving his sentence is located in nearby Fort Worth.

A Texas lawyer representing Siddiqui said the prisoner had no connection to Akram.

The investigation extended to England, where police over the weekend announced that two teenagers had been remanded in custody in connection with the showdown. The teens are Akram’s sons, two U.S. law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

Officials were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, police in the UK said the teenagers had been released without charge.

Akram is from the English industrial city of Blackburn. His family said he had “a bit of a mental problem.”

Investigators believe he originally traveled to New York in the belief that Siddiqui was still being held there – where her trial took place – without realizing she had been sent to a federal prison in Texas.

During the conflict, Akram forced Cytron-Walker to call Angela Buchdahl, the senior rabbi at New York’s Central Synagogue, in an attempt to win Siddiqui’s release. In at least one subsequent call, Akram raged and demanded that Buchdahl try to get Siddiqui released, an official said. Buchdahl called 911 and reported the calls to New York police.

Investigators are still sorting through Akram’s movements in the United States and reviewing his financial and telephone information, but believe he may have traveled by bus to Texas, two of the officials said.

Authorities believe he bought the handgun used in the hostage-taking at a private sale, according to a person familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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