tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN January 15, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
you're live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm jim acosta in washington and we are following breaking news at the top of this hour. a hostage situation is unfolding right now on the sabbath at a texas synagogue. the fbi and texas department of public safety are conducting s.w.a.t. operations in colleyville texas at the congregation of beth israel there in colleyville, texas. police are evacuating the residents from the media. the white house is monitoring the situation. let's bring in shimon prokupecz, julia, josh campbell and rabbi joshua stanton, senior fellow at the national jewish center for learning and leadership who was so kind to stay with us. shimon, i understand you have new information. >> so, we believe, jim, according to authorities there, there are four hostages inside the synagogue that this man has taken hostage.
they are working through some information. they believe, the fbi and the police there, believe this is an individual. they have a name of this individual. the issue is that independently, so far, they have not been able to confirm this individual's identity. so what they're doing is, is before having us come out here and say who this individual is, authorities have asked us to sort of try and let them confirm exactly who this is before we go ahead and report the person's name. so that's what's going on right now. so they believe they have identified this individual and they believe that there are four hostages inside this synagogue. they believe perhaps that this person is armed. at least that's the claim, but again, a lot of what they know is based on information that they have been able to learn from some of the people who have been taken hostage. there was a call to police, but then there's also other information they have been able to obtain. so obviously, there are two different things going on here. you have the fbi working through
this investigation, trying to confirm who this individual is. the significance of who this individual is. then you have the most important thing for everyone there. for the police and the fbi is to get these hostages free, out, and safely making sure that no one gets hurt. so there are obviously negotiators dealing with that aspect of it. there has been some communication with this individual. it's not entirely clear how that took place, but obviously there's still a lot we don't know and there's still a lot of information that the fbi is trying to work through, jim. >> and shimon, can you tell us anything about the four hostages? >> so -- >> we believe the rabbi is one of the hostages. >> that is our belief. our belief based on what the authorities have told us that the rabbi is one of those individuals. this all took place, it's the sabbath and so it was during the services that this person walked in and all of this obviously
happened. so that is very significant given the day it is, the location, so they believe the rabbi is inside the synagogue and then three other people. that is the information, at least preliminarily that the authorities have, jim. >> all right, shimon, and we won't press you too hard because we know you're working your sources and you want to make sure you're putting out accurate information as it's coming from those stories. >> most important. >> as always, thank you for that. rabbi joshua stanton, let me turn to you. if the rabbi there at the synagogue in colleyville is in fact among those hostages, tell us what he might be going through right now. you were saying earlier that you don't become a rabbi to get into the security business, but i just can't imagine what he may be going through right now. >> so, according to my colleagues, the rabbi, if indeed
he is there, is charlie citron walker, and he is absolutely beloved. he's the first full-time rabbi to the synagogue. gives his heart and soul to that place and the community members. he is dedicated to justice and to social justice and i cannot even imagine the fear, the terror, the horror in his heart right now. not only for his safety, but the safety of those who are with him. and i would love to ask if i may for those who feel called to prayer in whatever language and tradition that they're from, to join in prayer for rabbi citron walker and also to consider an act of justice in his honor and as a form of action done as a sign of solidarity and caring. he is somebody who loves the stranger and cares deeply about the plight of those who have,
who face hardship in our society. he's someone who cares about interfaith collaboration. he is someone who cares about righteousness in its many forms. so i invite people to engage in prayer if that is something they're comfortable with, and indeed, engage in acts of righteousness. may the one who blessed our ancestors, sarah, rebecca, and rachel, bring security and healing and kindness to the extent possible -- to all who are experiencing this horror right now. may they receive safe deliverance from harm's way and indeed continue forward on their path of goodness and righteousness for the sake of the higher power and their calling as a member of the jewish people.
amen. >> amen to that. thank you, rabbi, for those words. so important. so powerful. julia, i suppose this rabbi who was in the middle of the situation or may be in the middle of the situation, is critically important right now in helping resolve this situation as well. >> absolutely. and just based on my work and experience, unfortunately, many synagogues and rabbis have had to take security very seriously. as i was saying in the earlier hour, you will have law enforcement and state police likely with some transparency of the synagogue in terms of where a certain rooms are, where the rabbi might be, where they may be physically. that will matter if in fact you have to operationalize very quickly, you're going to want to know where people are. i'll tell you things that are sort of very relevant right now in terms of motive. in terms of sort of both
speculating, but where might this be heading. the most important thing right now is that the suspect did not start killing. that is good news in terms of where we are today in terms of active shooters, how quickly people can go into a synagogue and start killing people. that means there is some window for resolution of this. it also means that if it can't be resolved, this is why our reporters and producers are a third of a mile away. the police do not want us to see what's going on. essentially, we know that there will be police and other members of law enforcement ready to go in quickly if these negotiations begin to fall apart quickly. so in terms of looking at what's not happening, there's no immediate raid. we're pushing back the public and the media just in case there has to be a raid. plus there's no active shooter incident. that window is where you have
professionals in hostage negotiations step in. that's what josh has been talking about as well. >> and i want to go to josh campbell in just a moment, but i want to quickly go back to shimon. shimon, you may have some updated information and i guess we do know about the live streaming that has been going on of the services inside this synagogue. what more can you tell us? >> so this was a live stream for the sabbath services that was out on facebook. live streamed on facebook. and that live stream captured a lot of what was going on. a lot of what law enforcement learned came from that live stream. it has since been taken down. the man on this live stream claimed to be an individual. authorities are working through that information to make sure that that is in fact the individual. that is also how they learned about some of the demands, some of the things that this individual was ranting about.
some of the things this individual was saying. so that is what authorities have. that is some of the information that the fbi has that they are now working through to try and confirm that this is in fact the individual that this person claims to be. and obviously, that is a very significant, would be a very signi signi significant development, something that is very, very important for the fbi to figure out. they also have some information about some of the individuals who are inside the synagogue with this man. obviously the key here now is to get these people out safely and given, and josh could talk about this better than i can, but the fbi has all kinds of technology. they could go in there, put cameras inside. there's obviously ways to get eyes inside that synagogue without the fbi actually having to go inside. so while that live stream was taken down, they may still, the fbi, may still have some eyes inside that cigsynagogue, but t key here now in talking to law enforcement just a short time ago, right now for them is to
get the people out safely, jim. >> absolutely. thank you for that. and let me turn to josh. jump off of that, if you can, what shimon was just saying. give us some of your expertise in terms of how they're trying to get some visibility on this situation and the other thing that i have going in the back of my mind, josh, is that the longer this drags on, the longer that this continues to go on, this becomes more of a difficult problem for the fbi to solve. >> that's right. our reporting of this live stream, a key source of information for officers as they try to determine what's happening in realtime. that obviously crucial to them to get a sense of what's happening. what is this person saying? trying to get into the mindset of what this person wants quite frankly, or they may be demands. or having conversations with the
individual hostages that will allow them to determine more about this person's background it makes it more difficult for law enforcement officers. getting into some of the other ways they collect information while this is still in the emerging phase, but one key part is going to be that realtime communication. if they are on the phone with this suspect gathering information, that is going to be important. we've seen in instances where there's a barricaded situation or there's a suspect who's holding hostages who refuses to speak to law enforcement, which makes their job that much more difficult because at the end of the day, they want this to be resolved peacefully and fact that those conversations are ongoing are a good thing in a very bad situation. >> thanks for that. we're going to work on that little buzz in your audio. want to go to chief ramsey in just a few moments, but let's take a quick break. we'll reset, quick this latest information that's been developing and get back to you in just a few moments. share the love event,he subu
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new information coming in on the hostage situation in texas. israel's minister of affairs just put out a tweet that they, too, are monitoring the situation. they're monitoring closely from israel the hostage situation unfolding at the beth israel congregation where the jewish population gathered in texas. they're praying for an immediate and safe end according to that tweet from the israeli government. and julie is back with me. you know, anytime something like this happens at a synagogue, the jewish community worldwide is following this kind of situation. we should know what shimon was just reporting in the previous segment which was that there are four hostages right now believed to be held by the hostage taker. and that the rabbi at this
synagogue is believed to be among the four hostages. what do you make of all of this? >> so, well, just starting with the target, which is of course the synagogue. with the rise of antisemitism against the jewish community in the united states and around the world, there is going to be global interest on a small c synagogue in texas. and people will be speculating, but we'll hold off on that. all that matters is the four individuals that are being held hostage. the good news in this world of horrible news, the good news is that this, the assailant did not come in shooting. that means there's a window, what you might call an opportunity, to deescalate the situation and that's clearly what's happening now. when you keep, as we've heard from producers and reporters, when you keep reports back by say a third of a mile, likely
because this is activity around the synagogue. either surveillance activity or the potential to go in if the situation gets worse or more troublesome in terms of the negotiations with the hostage, with the hostage taker that people will be able to go in relatively quickly. so it's in that window we're working right now. between the police not going in immediately and the hostage taker not creating an active shooter situation and that's what we have to deescalate. as to motive, we're not speculating not because it's not important, but the motive right now is only important for purposes of deescalating the situation. all the global issues and religious issues that may be at play here can be at play later. but right now, all that matters to the police is to get the noise out. right? in terms of what could be going on. there is something this hostage taker wants.
can we provide it or can we buy ourselves enough time that we can deescalate, that if you're law enforcement, you can deescalate without a concession by the hostage taker. that's where we are right now in terms of this waiting game. one last thing, jim. in terms of how long this is taking, there's two ways to interpret that. one is that the hostage taker might be getting more animated, can be the get what he wants. the other is that these negotiations may be providing window or time to deescalate. so long as we don't have an active shooter situation, that's good news because we know, we know the alternative. in these situations, we know the alternative. if someone comes in with a gun and kills lots of people in a synagogue very, very quickly, so we'll see in the next couple of hours. >> okay. and that's very important perspective because you're right. we don't know what the passage of time means. if it's a good thing, bad thing,
if it's just because of the way this is unfolding and that is a, an ariel view, google image view of the congregation in colleyville, texas, where all of this is unfolding. let me go to josh campbell who has new information. josh. >> well, i talked a moment ago about this second by second calibration that law enforcement is having to do and obviously their actions are dictated by the actions of this suspect. our colleague in texas just getting a new update from police saying that as of right now, law enforcement is still in contact with this suspect. as of now, still no injuries and just as important, they do not plan to have any press conferences anytime soon and that's so important as we watch this. if you have a loved one who is inside that building right now, obviously, this is a heartbreaking moment, but for the rest of us, i think we have to understand that there is a reason why law enforcement holds certain information back. they go through that calculus.
does a certain piece of evidence or information somehow move us forward into peaceful resolution and if releasing that isn't going to help to that end, they're going to keep that close to the vest. so bottom line, i wouldn't read too much into what law enforcement may or may not know based on what they're telling us right now because they are focused on one objective. a peaceful resolution there to what is actually transpiring and folks should just be aware that a lot of this again, because a suspect is driving here, this could go on a while. we don't know what the demands are that this person might be making, if any, but law enforcement wants to maintain that level of conversation. they want to have that two-way street. i used to work with these crisis negotiators who would tell me people would make such outlandish claims where it has to turn into a dialogue, that back and forth, where the negotiator is trying to understand what this person is trying to accomplish, what their demands are and what they be
realistic. with this latest information that the communications are ongoing, another good thing. it's hard to say be patient if you have a loved one in that building, but for the rest of us, we have to be patient. law enforcement working to try to bring this to a peaceful conclusion. >> all right, josh campbell, our security correspondent with the latest on this. we're going to take another break. the latest information coming in to cnn, a rabbi believed to be among four hostages at the synagogue in colleyville, texas, where a hostage taker, as josh was saying, is in control of this situation right now. but apparently in communication with the fbi. we'll have the latest in just a few moments after this quick break. t into everything you do, which is a lot. so take care of that heart with lipton. because sippin' on unsweetened lipton can help support a healthy heart. lipton. stop chuggin'. start sippin'. at fidelity, your dedicated advisor
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we're back monitoring this situation in colleyville, texas. this ongoing hostage situation where a fbi has apparently been in communication with what appears to be a lone hostage taker inside the synagogue there. there are four hostages. that's our understanding at this point. the rabbi at the synagogue is among those hostages. i'm joined now by rabbi joshua stanton from new york. he's back with me. also, philadelphia, former philadelphia police commissioner, charles ramsey. he's with us as well. but rabbi, you first. what do you think, what do you think is going through this rabbi's mind right now? my goodness.
he started the day thinking, you know, he was going to preside over, he's going to lead just your usual saturday sabbath services with his congregation and then this happens. you know, i just can't imagine. >> utter heartbreak. in jewish tradition, we are seen as partners of god working to make a more perfect world and to have that vision shattered by someone engaged in violence and senseless hatred is beyond heartbreaking. this was a rabbi known to colleagues as one of righteousness and goodness. profound compassion and profound love. not only of the jewish people, but of all human beings and humanity itself. and to be targeted at a house of worship, to be made to feel unsafe is inconceivable. i want to relate a statement by the chief executive of the central conference of american rabbis. in what she says that i think is
so powerful and exactly right is that we must continue to work with good people of all faiths and traditions to create a world in which things like this never again happen. that is spot on. may the one who makes peace on high bring each and every one of us peace. now the one who makes peace is not merely devine up there, but the divine within us. we, too, are partners in making peace. and so there is very much at this moment a call for prayer and then a call for righteous act so that hatred does not win the day. so that violence does not win the day. so that justice and mercy and collaboration across religious traditions to build a peaceful, just, and merciful society has the day.
>> amen to that. rabbi, just so poignant. thank you so much for sharing those thoughts and if you can, stay with us. your perspective on all of this is just so wonderful. let me go to charles ramsey, the former philadelphia police commissioner. cnn law enforcement analyst. chief ramsey, let me just tell you something we're hearing from our reporters who are working this. the situation obviously continuing to unfold with the fbi crisis negotiator still in contact with the subject inside. that's according to the colleyville police. no injuries at this point and no plans for a news conference. why might that be, chief ramsey? i suppose there probably are some concerns the hostage taker himself may be monitoring social media. monitoring what's out in the media. that sort of thing. and i guess all efforts are being made not to provoke the
situation in any way, but give us your perspective. i know you've been standing by for some time. so tell us what's on your mind. >> i think you just pretty much answered it yourself. i don't think they want to take a chance right now. they have a flow of conversation going with this individual, which is a good thing. first of all, the fbi is excellent hostage negotiators and if they're in contact with this individual, there's a flow that's going on right now that they do not want to interrupt. i'd be surprised if this individual is not monitoring social media. not paying attention to tv or what have you. and they don't want to do or say anything at all that could cause him to change directions if you will. again, the top priority i think juliet and josh both emphasized in the last block, and that is the one thing that matters right now is the safety of the hostages and you don't want to do anything to jeopardize that at all. but in the mean ttime, in additn to negotiations, there are plans
that have been laid out should they have to make a tactical entry. they're going to be in a position to be able to do so. i think it was josh that mentioned they need to have eyes on the side of the building and so forth and if they're not watching it on live stream, then certainly there are methods and ways in which they can certainly get cameras inside to be able to see what's going on. that's important because they need to know what part of the building he's in. they need to know if he's getting more agitated. they can only assume he's armed, but with what, we don't know. i think shimon's reporting, which has been absolutely excellent. he's got great sources, has really given us a good picture of what's going on right now and they have a tentative id, they're looking at his social media imprint, trying to identify relatives and friends. they're trying to talk him down. i'm assuming theit's a man, but
they're doing everything to try to reach this individual because the only outcome that's going to be most favorable to this person is to release the hostages and come out. that's the only outcome that's going to be favorable at all. if he harms someone, if they have to make a forced tactical entry, that's not going to work out so well for him. >> absolutely. and i'm assuming, chief, that you've been in situations like this. we have some pictures coming in just a few moments ago from our affiliate ktvt there in colleyville, texas. but chief, back to you on all this. what might be going into a hostage negotiation like the one we're seeing unfold right now? i'm sure you've been involved in many of these. one of the things that stands out to me is that the fbi has not put out the name of this individual. shimon was saying they believe that they know who this individual is. that they have a name and they're, to some extent, it sounds as though they are keeping that from us, from the public. maybe because they don't want to
give this hostage taker the satisfaction of having his name out there and having what he wants out there. >> well, that could be part of it. they could also be executing search warrants. once that name is out, believe me, you'll have news crews standing in front of his home or what have you. so you know, you want to play things close to the vest for as long as you can. i'm sure that shimon and maybe some others may have that name and it's good that they're at least holding it because they don't want to do anything or say anything that could put people at risk. all that stuff is important. i know people want to know, but right now, the only thing that really hatmatters is keeping pee safe. they've got a lot of work to do. they're doing it. they're trying not to make it too public at this point in time. that will happen in due time, but right now, the situation is such that it's just too sensitive a time to release too much information publicly.
>> right. absolutely. no question about it. whatever it takes to resolve the situation peacefully with no violence, that is the name of the game at this point. chief ramsey, thanks so much for that. stay with us if you can. all of our angalysts and expert stay with us as we monitor this unfortunate, terrible situation in colleyville, texas. hostages being held inside the synagogue right outside dallas and fort worth. we're going to have the latest information on this in just a few moments. stay with us. we'll be right back. curated with eucalyptus and lavender to wrap you in relaxation and transform your mood. air wick essential mist aroma. hustle sure, but for what matters. when you do, it leads to amazing. welcome to the next level. the all-new lexus nx. ♪
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we want to reset the scene that's unfolding in texas. according to a law enforcement official, rabbi believed to be among four hostages at the synagogue in colleyville, texas. our cnn crime and justice reporter, shimon prokupecz, joins me now. shimon, what's the latest? what can you tell us? we were just talking with chief ramsey before we went to the break about the importance of maybe limiting some of the information that goes out there. i know you've been on this all afternoon and have been bringing us a lot of terrific, late breaking information. i guess what's the latest we know and why is it important that maybe we not know everything at this point? >> well, i think why we not know everything obviously. one of those things is tactics and how the fbi is communicating
with this individual. that is good for them. it's good when they're communicating with a hostage taker, obviously. so they want to keep that going. they don't want to do anything to further upset this individual. so that's partially why we're not seeing press conferences and really the fbi has taken charge of this scene. you see them out there. this is a common fbi investigation. so they are working through information that they have about this individual. this video claims to be a certain person and so because they are working through that, they have yet to confirm definitively that this is in fact the person who they think they're dealing with. so that is significant for them. because then, it takes this investigation into different directions. are they just dealing with someone who's upset about something? are they dealing with a hate crime? something that's related to terrorism? these are all the things that the fbi is trying to figure out at this moment, but the
priority, the number one priority obviously is to get the hostages out and end this peacefully and so that is what the fbi is concentrating on and they're out there working this, trying to really figure out definitively who this person is because it will take this investigation into different directions and that itself could be very significant, also, jim. >> absolutely, shimon. let me bring in the congressman from texas. thanks so much for being with us. i understand you know the rabbi who is being held hostage at this point. what can you tell us about him? his family? what maybe going on right now? what can you tell us? >> yes, jim. i know the rabbi and his wife even better. his wife works with an organization in fort worth called a multicultural alliance and i've served on the board for many years and i got to know the
family very well. i remember when they first came to town when charlie was a young rabbi there and took over that congregation. our kids used to do mcdonald's play dates together and when i you know, clicked on the link to our local newspaper and saw this, i couldn't believe it. i'm still in disbelief. still in shock and just really pray that this is peacefully resolved. >> what can you tell us about congregation beth israel? you know, this is obviously a situation where you know, members of this congregation were gathering for their saturday sabbath services like they would any other weekend then all of this unfolded. you must know more than just the rabbi and his wife being a congressman in that area. you know, this is a very important part of this
community. >> yeah, it's a huge part of the community particularly for a lot of jewish families in that area. the larger synagogue are in dallas and fort worth and that synagogue serves a very important purpose. type of small, tight knit community where everyone knows one another and everyone goes to football games on friday night. i know the other very, very well. just outside of my district, but i go through there all the time and again, it's just, it's unbelievable that it's happening. this way. and then i'm just really praying for those inside of the synagogue right now. >> absolutely. and i suppose from your
standpoint, you're going to make sure that law enforcement has all the resources that they need. we understand the white house is monitoring the situation. we've heard from other members of the texas delegation, congressional delegation. they're on top of this as well and i guess we're just all in the same boat right now, congressman. we're just hoping and praying that this can be resolved peacefully. no matter how long it takes. >> absolutely. we want it resolved peacefully. i think that we need to start having more conversations in america so we don't have to keep revisiting this. obviously where he need to find out exactly what the details are about why this person is in there holding congrcongregants the rabbi hostage. where he need to start communicating off of social media more and really start trying to understand each other's differences.
we don't know why this person is in there, but i think we can all do better. >> no question about it. all right, congressman. thank you so much for joining us. we appreciate it and as you were just saying a few moments ago, all praying. all hoping for the best possible outcome here in colleyville, texas. thanks for your time. we appreciate it. >> all right. we'll be right back in just a quick moment. stay with us as we're following the unfolding situation in colleyville, texas. fbi officials are apparently in communication with this hostage taker. four hostages including the rabbi of this synagogue in the dallas-fort worth area. we'll be right back in just a few minutes.
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a rabbi among four hostages at a synagogue in colleyville, texas. we have new information coming in from the government of israel. the prime minister there has tweeted out his support for the situation that he's monitoring the situation in texas. he tweeted i am closely monitoring the hostage situation taking place in congregation beth israel in colleyville, texas. we pray for the safety of the hostages and rescuers. as we were talking with the rabbi and julia and others, when something like this happens, the global jewish community is on the edge of its seat watching
what is unfolding. this situation is no different in that you have a congregation in danger right now. you have the leader of that congregation in danger right now. i want to go back to cnn security correspondent, josh campbell. josh, what does it say to you that the atf is now involved? we presume that the gunman, the hostage taker is armed with some kind of weaponry. we don't know what that is or it's not being reported at this point. but what does that mean to you that the atf is now on this as well? >> that's right. we're not even reporting on the type of weapon, but this person obviously using some type of force to keep these hostages there in place. we know that the ongoing conversation continues between the suspect and the fbi. with your question regarding your question about the atf, anytime there's some type of
situation like we're seeing, any law enforcement agency in the vicinity will be self-deploying to assist. they're not going to wait for a call requesting their assistance. they're going to send people there just in case this ends up being a god forbid a violent situation. the atf obviously brings another host of resources. if there is a firearm, explosives, they'll have their experts on site to help should they be needed. >> and josh, the los angeles police department is now monitoring threats to synagogues in l.a. i suppose some of that is standard operating procedure, but it might indicate that other jurisdictions around the country are on the lookout for this sort of thing as well because there can be copy cats when this sort of thing happens. josh, what can you tell us about that? >> yeah, that is an unfornt reality. i think we'll see more across the nation releasing patrols. l.a. tweeting they're closely monitoring this situation in texas. they say they're working with
the feds, increasing patrols around synagogues in l.a. as a precautionary measure. again, there's no indication of any threat here in los angeles, but that is what we would be seeing because authorities have to be on guard against any potential copy cats. they want to have those resources. then i think it's worth pointing out that our heart has to go out to the jewish community right now. i walk around l.a. i walk past a synagogue. this is the faith that requires armed security outside their doors. i don't have armed security outside my church. so they live with the fear of possible attack and violence and now we're seeing their place of worship struck by this hostage taker. our heart goes out to them, jim. >> well said. perfectly said. thanks, as always. we're going to take a quick break. more developments in just a moment. drink you choose. try boost glucose control®. it's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels and contains high quality protein to help manage hunger and support muscle health. try boost® today.
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