x
Breaking News
More () »

Colleyville hostage-taker timeline: When and where he went before showing up at Congregation Beth Israel

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was a British citizen reportedly from the city of Blackburn in the northwest region of the country.

COLLEYVILLE, Texas — Authorities are still investigating the hostage situation at Colleyville's Congregation Beth Israel, but new information released over the last two days has helped piece together a clearer picture of the suspect's whereabouts before he arrived at the synagogue Saturday.

We've also learned more about how the hostage situation unfolded and ultimately came to an end.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was a British citizen reportedly from the city of Blackburn in the northwest region of the country.

Akram died in the standoff, which lasted more than 11 hours Saturday. All four hostages escaped unharmed.

A clear motive remains under investigation, though the FBI confirmed that Akram "spoke repeatedly" about Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist who is serving an 86-year sentence at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth.

FBI officials said in a statement that the hostage situation "is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted."

Were authorities aware of Akram before Saturday? How did he travel to Colleyville? Where, specifically, did he get a gun? 

Those are all questions that haven't been confirmed by authorities, just yet. 

Here's a timeline of what we do know, confirmed by officials:

Dec. 29: Akram arrives in the United States at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. When Akram passed through customs, he listed a Queens hotel as his local address. The FBI is still investigating whether Akram stayed in the Queens hotel before traveling to Texas.

Jan. 2. At some point between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2, Akram arrived in Texas. We know this because the OurCalling homeless shelter in Dallas confirmed that Akram stayed there on the night of Jan. 2. OurCalling was open that night to provide shelter during below-freezing weather. Akram arrived to OurCalling at 10:01 p.m. and spent the night there, leaving the next day.

Akram arrived at the shelter "presenting as a homeless individual in need of shelter," OurCalling officials said in a statement Tuesday. 

"We take security very seriously, because we want to protect our most valuable neighbors," the OurCalling statement said. "He misrepresented himself, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing."

Also on Tuesday, OurCalling provided a picture of Akram from the night he checked in to the shelter. The shelter said taking photos is part of the intake process. OurCalling officials said they've shared the photo, along with surveillance video, with the FBI.

Credit: OurCalling
Malik Faisal Akram as he arrived at the OurCalling shelter on Jan. 2.

We also now know Akram spent some time at a mosque in Irving, just four miles away from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

One cold night in the beginning of January, officials from the mosque say Akram showed up.

“He looked like he was homeless,” described Khalid Hamida, the attorney for the Center. "He was mulling around asking if he could spend time in the mosque, prayer hall." 

Hamida said Akram asked if he could spend the night there, but Hamida said that goes against their bylaws to allow people to stay overnight. According to the staff at the Islamic center, Akram got mad.

“He looked emotionally unstable," Hamida recounted. 

"It was like you turn the light on - went from normal to rude,” he added.

Jan. 6-11. The Union Gospel Mission shelter in Dallas confirmed that Akram spent time at their facility, off and on, for about a week, between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12. He arrived at Union Gospel Mission on Jan. 6 and left on Jan. 7. Akram then returned to the shelter on Jan. 11 and left on Jan. 12. Officials at the shelter said Akram did not return to the shelter before the hostage situation Saturday.

ABC News obtained a photo of Akram, and WFAA has confirmed the photo is of Akram through multiple sources.

Credit: ABC News
Multiple sources confirmed to WFAA that this photo ID is of Colleyville hostage situation suspect Malik Faisal Akram.

It remains unclear when and where Akram obtained the gun he used during the hostage situation. 

President Joe Biden in a media briefing Sunday said "the assertion was [Akram] got the weapons on the street," purchasing the gun after he landed in the United States.

"Now what that means, I don’t know," Biden said. "Whether he purchased it from an individual in a homeless shelter or a homeless community, or whether — because that’s where he said he was — it’s hard to tell."

Jan. 12-Jan. 15 (Saturday). It remains unclear where Akram went during this three-day period or how he got around. We don't know if he had a vehicle, walked or took another form of transportation. For reference, the Union Gospel Mission is about 20 miles from the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville.

Saturday morning. At some point before arriving at Congregation Beth Israel, Akram stopped at the Starbucks on Highway 26 and Church Street and ordered a coffee, employees there confirmed. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. The Starbucks is located just south of the synagogue, less than one mile away.

Saturday around 10 a.m. Akram arrived at Congregation Beth Israel and knocked on the door, and Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker let him inside, thinking he needed help, according to interviews from Cytron-Walker and Jeffrey Cohen, who attended the Saturday morning service.

Cytron-Walker told CBS Morning News that he made Akram some tea and noticed that some of his story didn't add up. But that wasn't uncommon for people who showed up at the synagogue, Cytron-Walker said, and they began the service.

As they prayed toward Jerusalem, Cytron-Walker said he heard a click behind him. Akram had a gun.

Saturday at 10:41 a.m. Colleyville police received the first 911 call from inside the synagogue, and an officer responded minutes later.

Cohen told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that when they realized Akram had a gun, he dialed 911 quickly. Cohen then began planning how they might escape the room. When Akram ordered the hostages to the back of the room, Cohen put himself in line with an exit instead, according to the Star-Telegram report.

Saturday around 12:30 p.m. As the FBI took command of the hostage negotiations, a call was made to a special team of 60-70 hostage agents at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va. The team then flew to Texas.

Saturday around 2 p.m. Shortly before 2 p.m., Facebook removed the livestream from the Congregation Beth Israel's page. The synagogue has streamed its services during the pandemic and did so again on Saturday. When the hostage situation began, the Facebook Live stream continued, and a voice, presumably Akram's, could be heard speaking in the background.

Saturday around 5 p.m. One male hostage was released. According to police, that man, who hasn't yet been identified, was reunited with his family. 

Saturday, shortly before 10 p.m. As the hostage situation passed 11 hours, Cytron-Walker said Akram became more belligerent as he "wasn't getting what he wanted."

Cytron-Walker looked for an opening. When Akram "wasn't in a good position," Cytron-Walker made sure the other two hostages were ready.

Cytron-Walker then told them to flee, as he threw a chair toward Akram. The three hostages bolted for the door and escaped, a moment captured on video by WFAA

Moments later, Akram stepped outside the door, with an apparent gun in his hand, according to the WFAA footage.

From there, a loud bang could be heard, as authorities entered the synagogue. The standoff ended with Akram dead and all four hostages unharmed, authorities said.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out