Texas synagogue hostage suspect timeline: Malik Faisal Akram's criminal record and when he entered US

The nearly 11-hour-standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas – about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth – ended Saturday night with the 44-year-old gunman, Malik Faisal Akram, dead and all hostages safe. 

Reports indicate Akram had been staying at homeless shelters in the Dallas-area the day before, after first coming into the U.S. at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

Akram’s criminal background, which reportedly dates back at least two decades and includes a recent prison stint following a 2012 conviction on theft and harassment charges, has critics wondering how the man from Blackburn, England didn’t trip any security safeguards when entering the U.S. 

Here’s a look into the timeline leading up to the terror incident in Texas. 

MALIK FAISAL AKRAM: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TEXAS SYNAGOGUE HOSTAGE SUSPECT 

1996: 

The suspect’s brother, Gulbar Akram, told The New York Times that Malik Faisal Akram was arrested at age 19 for wielding a baseball bat during a fight with his cousins and spent a six-month stint at a young offenders’ institute. Gulbar Akram said their parents had emigrated to the U.K. from Pakistan in the 1960s and raised six sons in Blackburn, England. 

September 2001: 

A rare judicial ban was issued against Akram in September 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, a British official confirmed to Fox News. 

He was restricted from the Blackburn Magistrates’ Court in September 2001 due to an outburst in a courtroom, U.K.’s The Telegraph reported.

Just a day after four planes were hijacked and crashed by jihad pilots, Akram was accused of remarking to Lancashire court ushers, “You should have been on the f— plane,” according to a letter written by Peter Wells, the deputy justice clerk, to the Lancashire magistrates’ committee. 

Law enforcement officials block a residential street near Congregation Beth Israel synagogue where a man took hostages during services on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas.

Law enforcement officials block a residential street near Congregation Beth Israel synagogue where a man took hostages during services on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

“This caused a great deal of distress to an individual who was simply doing his job and should not be subjected to your foul abuse,” Wells said, describing how Akram had been a regular “menace,” hurling “threatening and abusive” language at staff for months, “even when he isn’t due before the bench.”

In order “to protect the health and safety of staff,” Akram was told he could be held in contempt of court or face a fine if he entered the building “other than when due to appear in court to answer a summons or surrender to bail or to make a payment in respect of any outstanding financial penalty.”

2012: 

Akram had a criminal record, an official at the U.K.’s Justice Department confirmed to Fox News Digital. His last brush with the law was in 2012 when he was convicted of theft and harassment. 

During the time he was in prison for that conviction, Akram reportedly conducted himself in an “extreme” manner when attending the jail’s mosque, and one observer noted he was “obsessed” with Islam, according to the British official.

TEXAS SYNAGOGUE HOSTAGE SUSPECT WAS BANNED FROM UK COURT OVER ‘THREATENING’ 9/11 OUTBURST: REPORT 

Jan. 2, 2022: 

The FBI Dallas Field Office declined to confirm to Fox News Digital whether Akram had flown into New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport two weeks prior, which is what some outlets have reported, citing unnamed sources or Akram’s brother. 

Akram arrived in the U.S. on a tourist visa from Great Britain, The Associated Press reported, citing a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not intended to be public.

It is not known how Akram then traveled to Texas. 

Akram stayed at OurCalling homeless shelter in Dallas on Jan. 2, according to Wayne Walker, CEO and pastor of OurCalling, which provides services to homeless people. 

Walker said he spotted Akram being dropped off by a man who hugged him and appeared to know him. That pastor said he has since turned over photos and video to the FBI, The Associated Press reported. 

Jan. 6-13, 2022:

Akram stayed three nights between Jan. 6 and Jan. 13 at Union Gospel Mission Dallas, the homeless shelter’s CEO, Bruce Butler, told CNN. According to their records, Akram left there for the last time on Jan. 13 — two days before he took the hostages at the synagogue.

Jan. 15, 2022: 

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said Akram knocked on the glass door of the synagogue Saturday morning. The rabbi let Akram in and made him tea, thinking he needed shelter. Cytron-Walker explained how he sat with the man and then during morning prayer, heard a click, which turned out to be a gun.

Akram could be heard ranting on a Facebook livestream of the services and demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known in counterterrorism circles as “Lady Al-Qaeda,” who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan. She is imprisoned in nearby Fort Worth. U.S. Muslim groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have been lobbying for her release.

Cytron-Walker said he drew from his past hostage training with the FBI, local police, Anti-Defamation League and Secure Communities Network during the incident, deciding in the last hour to first make sure the other hostages were ready to run before the rabbi suddenly hurled a chair at the suspect.

Law enforcement officials gather at a local school near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas.

Law enforcement officials gather at a local school near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Malik Faisal Akram’s brother, Gulbar Akram, released a statement through the Blackburn Muslim Community detailing how he was called into a police station in Greenbank, where he worked in an incident room with terrorism police liaising with the FBI and negotiators during the hostage incident.

In an interview with The New York Times, Gulbar Akram said he spoke to his brother during the siege happening some 5,000 miles away to talk him down. Without providing many details, Gulbar told the newspaper his brother was known to counterterrorism police. He also said Faisal had mental health issues, worsened after the recent death of their other brother from the coronavirus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted just past 9:30 p.m. local time that all hostages were safe. 

 

Colleyville Police Chief Michael Miller told reporters at a press conference around 10:20 p.m. local time that the suspect was deceased. SWAT teams entered the building and the suspect died during a shootout, though authorities did not specify how.

Two teenagers have been arrested in Manchester, England, as the FBI has extended investigations to London and Tel Aviv to determine whether Akram acted alone or as part of a larger terror cell. 

Fox News’ Greg Palkot and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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