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Colleyville Hostage Crisis


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#1 Doohickie

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 01:08 PM

A frightening time at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville yesterday: Hostage situation at Texas synagogue

 

A friend of mine was one of the hostages.  He managed to post on Facebook early on:

 

At CBI with a gunman. If I don't get out, remember me. Fight hate.

 

Later, in a thread after he was released, he posted (relevant thread excerpts):
 

J:  All is over. We all got out ok.

D:  I hope your ears and eyes are OK. I heard something about flash-bang devices on the news.

J:  we escaped about a minute or 90 seconds before it

D:  So glad you are OK

A:  What happened?

J:  during this morning's service, a man took us hostage demanding to speak to and the release of a prisoner. You can read the news.

B:  were you one of the hostages?!

J:  yes.

B:  I followed the story on the news, but did not see your earlier post. I'm glad you the others are safe!

 


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#2 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 02:15 PM

I'm glad your friend made it out safely.  I'm sure it was very scary inside the synagogue.



#3 Doohickie

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 10:37 PM

When they said one hostage was released a little ways into it, I knew it wasn't him.  He wouldn't leave if others were still in danger.  He's noble like that.


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#4 Doohickie

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 07:19 AM

He posted this morning:

 

It is a little after 6:00 AM; I've been awake since 5:00. I'd worry, except we went to bed at 10:00 PM last night so I got a good, solid 7 hours sleep.
 
I want to share what I and we went through on Saturday, but there is an ongoing investigation. There won't be many details here, but there will be things that went through my mind.
 
First of all, we escaped. We weren't released or freed. We escaped because we had training from the Secure Community Network on what to do in the event of an active shooter. This training saved our lives -- I am not speaking in hyperbole here -- it saved our lives. In my next post, I will write about the steps everyone needs to take to stay safer.
 
Second, it is not like the movies. Movies are scripted. Everyone knows exactly what every other actor will do. It is not surreal. On the contrary, it is quite real and realistic.
 
Third, when faced with a person with a firearm, fighting back is not your first option, it is your last. Fighting back would have meant getting close to the attacker. If I could get behind him, I was prepared to use my tallis (prayer shawl) around his neck or around his shooting hand. I never got the chance. Even if I had been carrying, I don't know that I would have had an opportunity to draw and fire on target, with a kill shot, before our attacker would have killed one of us. This isn't fear or second guessing, it is my evaluation of the condition on the ground.

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#5 Doohickie

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 07:32 AM

 
(post 2 of 2) TL;DR - know where the exits are; move toward them; stay calm; plans change.
 
This post is about what I did so that we would survive the attack on Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas, 15 January, 2022.
 
When if first arrived at the synagogue for Saturday morning prayer, Rabbi Charlie pointed me to a guest. I must have misheard what he said about why the man was there, but that isn't important. I went over, introduced myself. He was on the phone, but briefly stopped his conversation. He said hello, smiled, and after we introduced ourselves, I let him go back to his call. He seemed calm and happy to be in from the frigid 20 degree morning. His eyes weren't darting around; his hands were open and calm, he said hello, he smiled.
 
I had just sat down after the Amidah when I heard that unmistakable sound of an automatic slide engaging a round. But it was out of place and the building makes many strange sounds. Rabbi Charlie heard it too and looked over at our "guest." Within a moment, he was yelling something (but that wasn't important). I keep my phone next to me during services, and that was important. I quickly dialed 911 and put the phone screen side down on the chair and moved as commanded. But not exactly as commanded. Instead of going to the back of the room, I stayed in line with one of the exits.
 
When the police officer came to the door in and our attacker became more agitated, I moved closer to the exit door. When he came back and instructed us to sit down, I sat on the row with clear access to that same exit. This door, by the way, is the one you can see us run out of on the WFAA video.
 
During the day, I remained calm -- I know, those who know me won't believe it -- I never raised my voice or made a quick move. Everything was deliberate.
 
When he let us call our families, I called my wife, daughter, and son. I also posted here on Facebook. Many of you saw that post, I'm sure. To be perfectly honest, at that point, I figured we had few options and little chance of survival. With my feet, I slowly moved a few chairs in front of me. Anything to slow or divert a bullet or shrapnel.
 
Later in the day, I helped one of my fellows by moving him closer to the door. While rubbing his shoulders, I whispered about the exit door. Still later, when we received the pizza, I suggested to our third hostage that he bring it back to us. We were all within 20 feet of the exit door. This proved critical for our escape.
 
Next was to keep the gunman engaged. We talked with him. He lectured us. I asked him questions that MAY have been useful to the FBI. But as long as he was talking and somewhat calm, we bought the FBI time to position.
 
Then things began to devolve. At one point, our attacker instructed us to get on our knees. I reared up in my chair, stared at him sternly. I think I slowly moved my head and mouthed NO. He stared at me, then moved back to sit down. It was this moment when Rabbi Charlie yelled run. Shane had one step on me. I grabbed him and pushed him through the door (we were so close, that the report said only 2 people came out -- there were three of us).
 
Going out the door, I stumbled hitting the ground hard. I heard our attacker open the door. I was on the ground without my glasses, my plan became getting through the hedge line. In all honesty, I thought I was further under than I was. In fact, I was quite exposed. The lesson is that just because your head is covered doesn't mean your body isn't completely in the open. When I heard the door close and an officer yell, I got up and ran.

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#6 Doohickie

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 07:44 AM

https://www.wfaa.com...06-63f4ee51a68f


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#7 roverone

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 08:42 AM

Doohickie:  thank you for sharing this inside view of what was happening.  What great presence of mind your friend had during a stressful situation to work within the shifting context to nudge things to some advantage for himself and the others.  I'm so glad that they made it out ok.



#8 JBB

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 01:20 PM

That is a terrifying read.  Thanks for sharing.  Rabbi Charlie is a very well liked individual.  I am amazed at the number of Facebook friends I have that know him or have worked with him on ministry projects in the area.  And none of these friends are Jewish.



#9 Austin55

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 02:08 PM

That is an incredible read, Doohickie. Chilling to the bone. 



#10 Doohickie

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 07:47 PM

In his own words:  https://dfw.cbslocal...ing-experience/


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