Family of Blackburn man shot dead in Texas hostage standoff release statement

The family of a Blackburn man who was shot dead by the FBI after taking four people hostage in a Texas synagogue say they are "devastated" by his actions.

By Matthew Calderbank
Monday, 17th January 2022, 1:06 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:00 pm

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was killed by the FBI after holding four hostages at gunpoint inside Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday (January 15).

As the tense standoff unfolded in Texas in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Akram family in Blackburn were visited by police and taken to Greenbank station where they were told of the shocking incident involving their son.

Huddled in the incident room at Greenbank, the family learned that 44-year-old Malik had infiltrated a synagogue during Shabbat services and had captured four hostages while armed with a pistol.

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Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was killed by the FBI after holding four hostages at gunpoint inside Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday (January 15).

Mr Akram's brother Gulbar said his family spent hours speaking to him over the phone from the police station in Blackburn, where they urged him to surrender to US law enforcement.

But Gulbar said his family's desperate pleas went unheeded and "there was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender".

All of the hostages were later released without injury before FBI agents entered the building and suspect Malik was shot and killed in a firefight.

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As the tense standoff unfolded in Texas in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Akram family in Blackburn were visited by police and taken to Greenbank station where they were told of the shocking incident involving their son

In statement posted on the Blackburn Muslim Community Facebook page, his brother said: "Salaam family and friends, it is with great sadness I will confirm my brother Faisal passed away in Texas, USA this morning.

"We are absolutely devastated as a family.

"We can't say much now as there is an ongoing FBI investigation.

"We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologise wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident.

"Sitting in the incident room last night at Greenbank until the early hours liaising with Faisal, the negotiators, FBI etc and although my brother was suffering from mental health issues we were confident that he would not harm the hostages.

"At around 3am the first person was released then an hour later he released the other 3 people through the fire door unharmed.

"A few minutes later a firefight was taking place and he was shot and killed. There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender.

"The FBI are due to fly into the UK later today so we don't have much else to share at the moment.

"Obviously our priority will be to get him back to the UK for his funeral prayers although we have been warned it could take weeks."

Part of the siege was live-streamed on Facebook before being shut down, with Akram heard calling for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al Qaeda.

She was convicted of trying to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan.

Counter terrorism police in the North West said it is assisting the FBI with their investigation, with officers arresting two teenagers in south Manchester yesterday (Sunday, January 16).

Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally said: "Police forces in the region will continue to liaise with their local communities, including the Jewish community, and will put in place any necessary measures to provide reassurance to them.

"We continue to urge the public to report anything that might be linked to terrorism to police, by calling the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 – your call could save lives."

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