The Rabbi of a Colleyville, Texas, synagogue says that he threw a chair at the gunman who held Jewish worshippers captive on Saturday, allowing him to escape with two other hostages after a 10-hour standoff.
“The rabbi of a Texas synagogue said Monday that he threw a chair at the gunman and then escaped with two other hostages after a 10-hour standoff,” reported The Associated Press.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was held hostage on Saturday along with three of his congregants, also credited regular active-shooter preparation education with saving lives.
The New York Post reported that Cytron-Walker said his synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, “participated in multiple security courses,” including some with local police and the FBI.
“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 in a statement. “We are all alive today because of that education. I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses.”
“In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening,” Cytron-Walker added. “Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.”
“There is no question that this was a traumatic experience,” the Rabbi said. “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.”
“First of all, we escaped. We weren’t released or freed,” Jeffrey R. Cohen, another man held hostage, said on Facebook.
“Cohen said the men worked to keep the gunman engaged. They talked to the gunman, he lectured them. At one point as the situation devolved, Cohen said the gunman told them to get on their knees,” The Associated Press reported. “Cohen recalled rearing up in his chair and slowly moving his head and mouthing ‘no.’ As the gunman moved to sit back down, Cohen said Cytron-Walker yelled to run.”
“The exit wasn’t too far away,” Cytron-Walker said. “I told them to go. I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door. And all three of us were able to get out without even a shot being fired.”
“Thanks to the courageous work of state, local and federal law enforcement, four Americans who were held hostage at a Texas synagogue will soon be home with their families. I am grateful to the tireless work of law enforcement at all levels who acted cooperatively and fearlessly to rescue the hostages. We are sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, and the Jewish community,” President Joe Biden announced in a statement. “There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate—we will stand against antisemitism and against the rise of extremism in this country. That is who we are, and tonight, the men and women of law enforcement made us all proud.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.