Sun, 22 May 2022

Authorities Report Hostage Situation at Texas Synagogue

Voice of America
16 Jan 2022, 08:35 GMT+10

COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS - Authorities say a man apparently took hostages Saturday during services at a synagogue near Fort Worth, Texas.

The Colleyville Police Department tweeted Saturday afternoon that it was conducting SWAT operations at the address of Congregation Beth Israel.

At least four hostages were believed to be inside the synagogue, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. The synagogue's rabbi was believed to be among the hostages, one of the officials said.

FBI on scene

FBI Dallas spokeswoman Katie Chaumont said an FBI SWAT team was also at the scene and that crisis negotiators had been communicating with someone inside the synagogue. But she could not say whether the person was armed, and she declined to describe what the person had said to authorities, citing operational sensitivity.

Police were first called to the synagogue around 11 a.m. and people were evacuated from the surrounding neighborhood soon after that, Chaumont said.

There have been no reported injuries, Chaumont said.

'It's an evolving situation, and we have a lot of law enforcement personnel on scene,' Chaumont said.

Law enforcement shut down access to the roads surrounding the synagogue Saturday afternoon.

Services livestreamed

The services were being livestreamed on the synagogue's Facebook page for a time. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion at times during the livestream, which didn't show what was happening inside the synagogue.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the man said, 'You got to do something. I don't want to see this guy dead.' Moments later, the feed cut out.

Colleyville, a community of about 26,000 people, is about 23 kilometers (15 miles) northeast of Fort Worth.

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