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Colleyville Rabbi: 'We Are Resilient And We Will Recover'

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The rabbi who was among four people held hostage at a Texas synagogue says their captor became "increasingly belligerent and threatening" toward the end of the 10-hour standoff.

"Over the years, my congregation and I have participated in multiple security courses from the Colleyville Police Department, the FBI, the Anti-Defamation League, and Secure Community Network," Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said.

Cytron-Walker on Sunday credited security training he said his congregation has received over the years for helping them survive the hostage situation Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel near Fort Worth. "We are alive today because of that education. I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses."

"In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening," Cytron-Walker added. "Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself."

"We know that a situation of this magnitude could increase the concern many of us live with on a day-to-day basis due to antisemitism," Michael Finfer, president of Congregation Beth Israel, said. "It is important to note that this was a random act of violence. Indeed, there was a one in a million chance that the gunman picked our congregation. Further, the FBI is confirming that the attacker appeared to be working alone."

"There is no question that this was a traumatic experience." Cytron-Walker said. "We appreciate all the love, prayers and support from our local community and throughout the world. We are grateful for the outcome. We are resilient and we will recover."

Authorities on Sunday identified a 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram as the hostage-taker. He was killed after an FBI SWAT team stormed the building.

The hostages had escaped the building safely moments earlier.

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

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