Suspected Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram had mental health issues, family says

The suspect was a British citizen.

Updated: January 16, 2022 - 9:00pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, 44, as the "hostage taker" Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. 

Akram's identity was also confirmed by British police, and his family condemned the attack in a since-deleted Facebook post.

Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno on Sunday confirmed Akram's identity to Fox News Digital.

"The FBI’s Evidence Response Team (ERT) will continue processing evidence at the synagogue," DeSarno said. "At this time, there is no indication that other individuals are involved." 

Akram allegedly took congregants hostage in an hours-long standoff, which ended when he died on the scene Saturday evening.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed on social media that Akram came from the "Blackburn area of Lancashire."

"Firstly, our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the terrible events that took place in Texas on 15 January," 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."

In a since-deleted Facebook post, the Blackburn Muslim Community reportedly wrote: "Faisal Akram has sadly departed from this temporary world and returned to his Creator… May the Almighty forgive all his sins and bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise. May Allah give strength and patience to his loved ones in dealing with their loss."

A man identified as Akram's brother, Gulbar, commented on the post, The Times of Israel reports. "We as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident," he said, adding that the family is "devastated."

Gulbar Akram said his brother "was suffering from mental health issues," and "we were confident that he would not harm the hostages."

"Don’t believe the bull#### in the media, they were released from the fire exit and not rescued," he reportedly wrote, adding that "A few minutes later a firefight has taken 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," Akram's brother stated. "We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned."

Blackburn community leader Mohammed Kahn, CBE, wrote in a statement also posted on the Blackburn Muslim Community Facebook that "we are giving every help and assistance to the investigation." 

He added: "In Blackburn we firmly stand by the belief that no community should live in fear for its safety as they go about practicing their religious beliefs or identity. We stand in solidarity in condemning this act of hate, violence and terror."

The Lancashire Council of Mosques tweeted a similar statement condemning "the acts of any individual who threatens or takes innocent life."