The rabbi who was held captive in his Colleyville synagogue along with three members of his congregation Saturday said the hostages were prepared to act and took the opportunity to flee as the gunman became more threatening.
“In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening,” Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said in an emailed statement Sunday afternoon. “Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.”
Cytron-Walker and Michael Finfer, president of Congregation Beth Israel, said in the joint statement Sunday that members of the congregation had security training.
“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,” Cytron-Walker said. “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.”
“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,” Finfer 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 concluded. “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.”