tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN January 15, 2022 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
and explosives is assisting on live stream appeared to capture part of the incident as worshippers observed the sabbath. the white house is monitoring the situation in colleyville and police there are asking p public to stay away. with me now is shimon patriotic pose, julie, and josh campbell. rabbi stanton at st center fehr for learning and leadership. also with us is charles ramsey as well as cnn counterterrorism analyst, phil mudd. >> as we have been reporting, four hostages inside the synagogue. one of the hostages believed to be the rabbi. this took place during the service this morning in texas. this man walked in, there was
some communication then took four people hostage. a lot of this was captured on the live stream that the police there were monitoring. they've learned a information. they've learned some names, they're trying to run it down and trying to figure out a motive. that seems to be going okay so far. we have no reports of injuries, no reports of shots fired. authorities there working on the theory this man is armed. they're treading carefully. they're trying to most porntsly here in all of this, have these hostages freed and everyone released safely and without -- >> really taking the lead at this point, jim.
they have not released anything publicly. they're trying not to do anything to upset -- all across texas as they continue to lead this investigation, jim. joining us now is ed lavandera. he's at the scene. you've got tons of experience covering situations like this. just an awful situation. what can you tell us from what you're seeing on the ground ther there? >> we are at the staging area a little more than a quarter mile away from the synagogue. this is just to kind of give people a sense of the atmosphere here. this is a small synagogue in a residential area. we are actually working out of the the parking lot of a large catholic church just down the
road. as we've been reporting the last several hours, obviously law enforcement has much of the area locked down. that media around the synagogue, but i was just able to speak with one of the members, one member of this synagogue and she tells me this is a synagogue maybe about 140 to 150 families. no too far away from dallas-fort worth international airport and she really described to me just a harrowing sense of what it was like for the many of these who were watching the live stream of the sabbath services. this congregant says because of covid, there were few attending. the vast majority of the members have been watching on live stream, so it's not uncommon for maybe a handful of people to actually be inside the temple
during the sabbath services. so that's perhaps why we're seeing such a small number of people who were inside this afternoon during these services. i mean, just absolutely gut wrenching to hear what they said. word was quickly spreading to listen in to the live stream. she said it was absolutely horrifying to listen to this suspect ranting and raving in her words. going back and forth between trying to sound conciliatory, perhaps apologetic to what was going on, then ranting and raving about wanting to hurt people. said it was absolutely horrifying to watch and listen to this for more than an hour. so that is the fear and concern that so many have here
experienced and this member was also describing one of the things that had them feeling so dejected here is that they described the rabbi here as someone who has spent years and years building bridges with the muslim community here in this area of northeast tarrant county, between dallas and fort worth. there's a large muslim population. this is a rabbi who spends a great deal of time reaching out to the muslim community here in this area, bringing interfaith services, interfaith events to you know, create those bridges and that is one of the reasons why many of the members of this synagogue with so distraught by what this rabbi and several others are going through this afternoon. >> we've heard account after account this afternoon from people who know this rabbi and know him to be an outstanding
person who has tried to do what you're saying a few moments ago. build bridges in the community. reach out to other faiths. build an interfaith community that surrounds the synagogue and we're going to come back to you just as soon as you have new information just as soon as you hear something new. i just want to go to phil. phil, the governor of texas, greg abbott, just tweeted. we'll put this up on the screen. the texas department of public safety is on the scene of the tense hostage situation in colleyville, texas. they are working with federal and local teams to achieve the best and safest outcome. i continue to monitor the situation through dps. phil, what is your sense of this situation as it's unfolding right now? ed was talking about the live streaming that was going on of the congregation sabbath services this saturday afternoon and how so many people in that community, because of the
pandemic, don't go in person, they watch this. they listen to the live stream. i suppose that just was just terrifying for those folks. >> i think so and the next hour should be equally concerning. typically when you're looking at a situation like this, you're going to anticipate resolution within say two to four to six hours. beyond six hours, it's a really long time for a hostage situation. there is one sort of glimmer of light here. that is typically these situations. if you just look at the statistics are resolved. an interesting point, one of the many interesting points for the bureau about that live stream is you get a sense not only of the mental standing of the individual, but also of whether or what kind of weapon the individual has in the event that you have to storm the building. so what i'm saying, jim, is you're looking at a critical
time period because these things typically don't go on forever. >> that's right. as the hours go by, the situation becomes more desperate. julia, you were cautioning earlier i know, don't necessarily read into the passage of time and the hours that have passed as being a determining factor of one thing or another. it could mean many different things. we know the fbi is in contact with the suspect. and that that has been going on throughout the afternoon. we also know that there are believed to be four hostages and perhaps as ed was saying a few moments ago, the number that it is, the small number that it is because so many people were watching or listening to the live stream at home. but what is your sense of things right now? you've been with me for the last couple of hours. what's your sense of it? >> and phil brings up the sort of hopeful statistic is like something to 85 to 90% of
hostage situations end peacefully and so in this moment of stress in terms of for those who are inside the synagogue and their family members of course and the jewish community at large, this is not necessarily a bad sign. in other words, that the time, you remember once again as i've been saying, he did not go in shooting and i want to pick up on new reporting from ed. ed said that people heard the hostage taker, the suspect, somewhat apologize for the situation. that strikes, that doesn't strike me, they saw my experience. that means someone, who one, did not want an active shooting situation immediately and sought people to listen. so those are the, those are the spaces that the fbi is working in. not working in our time. we want resolution, but they're working in their time, which is to take advantage of the information we're getting right now. as for --
>> you're saying that because you mean this sounds like somebody who doesn't want to harm other people and that that is something the fbi works with. >> right. ed's reporting was new to me and he said he talked to some congregants, if his first words are i'm sorry this is happening, that may sound insane, that's not uncommon that someone wants to make noise, wants to get their reasons for this known to the outside world. may not necessarily want violence. there's two options available now to the fbi. one is peaceful and a not peaceful end. the not peaceful end is being worked through. this is why reporters like ed and others aren't able to see the synagogue. one hopes and the satatistics ae on the fbi's side.
a perpetrator who clearly did not want to begin as an active shooter situation. so compare this to the other incidents we've had in the last couple of years. as i've been saying, these are the hopes of light we look for given the hate that is out there. >> absolutely. and josh campbell, juliet makes a great point. we've been looking at these pieces of video on kind of a loop over the last couple of hours. we're not looking at live pictures so much. we haven't really looked at many at all for some time since the media got moved back. that tells us what juliet was saying that perhaps they don't want us to see potentially how they're perhaps planning to bring this to an end and that might be because the hostage taker could be monitoring social media. could be monitoring cnn or whatever news outlet he may be
watching inside this synagogue. >> that's right. what i do is harken back to, i'm from texas and growing up during the waco standoff, officials had the media back off a significant distance. we didn't have to worry about social media during that time, but in the event these individuals were watching television, they didn't want to see the posture of law enforcement, where they were moving. now in the age of social media where that information is in realtime and the suspect doesn't even have to have a television, he can have a phone, and get that information. they're obviously being very cautious. i've worked in these command posts in a prior life where there's an emergent situation. what is happening behind the scenes right now is quite complex. you obviously have the negotiator on the phone with the suspect. that obviously front and center. that realtime human to human contact, trying to glean
information about the suspect. trying to persuade the suspect that a peaceful resolution is in everyone's best interest here. but behind the scene, you have the tactical team that they're preparing a number of courses of action if this, then we do this. and right now, the s.w.a.t. officers we saw on video arriving several hours ago are going through those motions, preparing. if something happens in any number of different scenarios, that he they will be prepared to respond. there's also a collections team where the fbi is working with local law enforcement. obviously that live stream was a significant piece of intelligence for them and so gleaning the information about the name of the shooter, running that through their holdings to try to determine everything they can about that suspect. there's a lot going on behind the scenes right now and just for the fact that law enforcement isn't briefing us, we shouldn't read into the fact they likely know a lot right now. >> that's right.
and we want to point out this just came into us in the last couple of minutes. president biden has been briefed on the developing hostage situation at a texas synagogue. the white house press secretary, jen psaki, has tweeted that potus has been briefed about the developing hostage situation. he'll continue to receive updates from his senior team as the situation develops. senior members of the team are also in touch with federal leadership. so the white house giving us an update that the president has been briefed on this situation. we're going to take another quick break and be back in a couple of moments with the latest information on this unfolding hostage standoff in colleyville, texas. the fbi trying to resolve this situation peacefully, but it's a very delicate operation. we'll have the latest in just a few moments. nothing kills more viruses, including the covid-19 virus, on more surfaces than lysol disinfectant spray.
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president biden has been briefed on the situation at the synagogue in colleyville, texas. a law enforcement official tells us at least four people are believed to be held hostage including the rabbi there. i want to arlette saenz at the white house. what more are you learning? >> we learned from jen psaki that president biden has been briefed on this hostage situation at that synagogue in colleyville, texas. i want to read you a tweet from za psaki which says potus has been briefed. he will continue to receive updates from the senior team. senior members of the national security team are also in touch with federal law enforcement leadership. now, president biden is spending this morton luther king holiday weekend at his home in delaware. he is currently attending mass at st. joseph's on the brandy
wine, but the president was at his home over the course of the afternoon as the situation has been unfolding. while he is away, he has all of the capabilities and technologies to be able to communicate with his team back here in washington as the white house is waiting to learn more information about this synagogue and hostage situation. now, so far, the white house has been referring questions regarding the situation to law enforcement who is operating down on the scene in texas. but at this moment, president biden has been briefed and we'll see what details the white house has to offer on this evolving situation. >> all right, arlette, thank you very much for that. back to former cia counterterrorism official, phil mudd. he's back with me. p phil, what did you make of the reporting we got from ed? that he was apologizing?
if he's that apologetic, he can put down his weapon and leave. what do you make of that? >> that's about the most critically important thing i've heard all day. if you're going into the negotiation, most of us think rationally. a conversation that starts with, you're not going to get what you want. that is not the way a hostage negotiator would begin this. you've got to go with emotion. you have to establish some sort of rapport with the individual. tell them you understand their feelings. my point, jim, is that bit of information, what the person said going in, gives us a window as to their emotional state that the negotiators can use to see if they can open an emotional door to their conversations. i thought it was really important to help the negotiators to figure out how to start talking this person down. >> and i mean, the fact that this is being live streamed and so many people you know, in that congregation were able to tune in and see what was happening,
hear what was happening. it's just absolutely terrifying and i suppose the hostage taker may have known that. we just don't know, i guess. >> i wouldn't know, but as an analyst, i have to go back to my old seat. to me, that's another important piece of information. partly because you want to know the emotional state, who is that individual. if one of them knew them, presumably the feds already know who the person is. that can open up a conversation with family members, who that person trusts. from a social level, it's really disarming. it's disturbing, but from an intelligence per smespective, i important because it might help you understand who they are and that is critical. >> and of course, phil, and you know this all too well. having dealt with the media for so long for so many years. we want the latest late breaking information. we want the name of the suspect. we want the motive behind all of
this. to some extent, that can be reported out over time, but the fbi of course knows this. counterterrorism folks like yourself know this. and maybe advantageous to try and resolve the situation and not getting that information out. why would that be? >> i think it's really important that information not get out. we mentioned earlier that the person could be watching social media or live video on a phone. that person if you're trying to bring down their emotional state watching themselves covered nationally, that's a recipe for a problem. the other issue obviously is a physical security issue. if there's any coverage of that scene and that person sees where for example s.w.a.t. members are moving, that's clearly an indicator to someone. if they have a weapon, i don't know if they do, that could signal to someone where they need to be worried about. so i think it's important people don't know much about what's
going on at that facility, jim. >> all right, phil. excellent perspective, as always. of course, we have tips, we have leads. we want to report that just as quickly as everybody else does, but we also most importantly want to see this resolved peacefully without violence. phil, thank you so much for all your thoughts and analyst. we'll be right back as we stay on top of this unfolding hostage situation in colleyville, texas. we'll be back in a few moments. in the 2022 lexus gx with apple carplay support. get 2.49% apr financing on the 2022 gx 460. ♪ it's beautiful out here. it sure is. and i earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase with chase freedom unlimited. that means that i earn 5% on our rental car, i earn 5% on our cabin. i mean, c'mon! hello cashback! hello, kevin hart!
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the hostage situation at the texas synagogue in colleyville. we are following all developments. president biden should note has been briefed on the situation and the world is watching what is unfolding right now in texas. the israeli prime minister has already reacted and we're now hearing from the u.s. ambassador to israel who tweeted i am closely monitoring the situation where the community is gathering for services. praying for an immediate and safe end and here's what we know about congregation beth israel in colleyville. serves about 157 membership families. the synagogue was officially established as the first jewish congregation in the media and holds services every saturday and like so many houses of worship, we see this all over the united states and around the world. people are doing live stream
services and so is this conversation throughout this pandemic. back with us now is rabbi stanton. senior fellow at the national jewish center for fellowship and learning. rabbi, thanks so much for hanging with us all afternoon. all of your insights, analysis, your prayers, they've been a god send throughout this or deal. tell me what you thought when you heard some of the information we heard from ed where people were watching this live stream, listening to what was unfold and just could not be more terrifying for those folks. what was your response when you heard that? >> i felt shattered and i can only imagine the reactions of the people in the community watching live what was happening in their sacred space. we pray in the words of psalm 133 -- how good it is to dwell
together and be together as siblings and in a moment with so much potential for violence, we feel very far away from that goal. at the asame time, i have felt heartened by friends of other fate tra diseditions. i want to raise up the voice of the founder and president of the interfaith youth core who texted me in prayer saying that as my muslim brother, he was there for me and so even though we stand far away from psalm 133, it does not feel like we are sitting together as brothers and sisters in a moment so filled with what feels like antisemitism and the potential for violence. there are things we can do to take steps closer. so i would like to, if i may, ask people who have jewish friends and relatives or are jewish themselves and have fellow friends and relatives,
please call someone you know who is impacted by this and just tell them that you love them, are here for them and listen because they are in shock and they are in grief. i'd also like to invite us not merely to pray, but to build together. dr. patel has said we need to build and i firmly believe that. chief executive of the central rabbi said we need to build together across lines of faith, across lines of difference to create a society in which events like this do not happen. i would say in hebrew -- may it indeed be so and may be partner with god and with each other to build the society that is worthy of us all and goodness and peace. >> so important. so powerful. what you just laid out there.
amen to all of it. and keep it coming for us, rabbi, as the hours go on. wanted to ask you just very briefly, you know, one of the things that we've heard a couple of times throughout the afternoon is that the rabbi of this congregation who is being held hostage right now, that part of his, part of his work as the leader of this faith community has been to sort of build bridges outside of his, outside of his conscgregation wh other faiths and that has been a critical part of his work there at the synagogue at that congregation. can you talk about that? i have to think that that is something that we see across the united states. i have to think that's an important part of what's ha happening in the dallas-fort worth area. i used to be a reporter there.
many, many faiths. >> the rabbi is living out our highest ideals. in our tradition, we say if i am not for myself, who will be for me but if i am not for another, what am i? he is showing that being jewish is loving one's own community and loving those within the wider world. it means that being jewish is about building, connecting, about being god's partner in a more righteous society. so what we can do is not only pray, but continue the work of that blessed rabbi in building bridges and engaging in sacred collaborations across lines of faith, across other forms of difference for a better and stronger society. >> one other quick thing before we let you go and we go to a break, and that is what josh campbell said while ago. our security correspondent, that
in los angeles, that they've increased security around synagogues as a precautionary measure. of course, we're hearing from israel. they have been quick to offer their support in all of this. this is obviously something that's felt globally across the global jewish community. but i suppose there are congregations that have to be thinking about the security posture over the next day or two because of the potential for copy cats. that sort of thing. that is not unheard of. >> it's not just for the next day or two. when you walk into an american synagogue, more likely than not, you have to walk past security. you have to get your bag searched. these are the realities we live in day in and day out and it is heartbreaking to go to a place that's supposed to be a sanctuary, a place that's supposed to give us a peace and wholeness and to be reminds of our very real insecurity. it's shattering.
heartbreaking. we must do better as a society. s >> absolutely. no question about it. rabbi, excellent work. being with us this afternoon. we appreciate it so, so much. thanks for everything that you've said. every word of it. we really appreciate it. thanks for your time. all right. we're going to take a quick break. we're going to get the latest information on this developing hostage situation in colleyville, texas. we'll have some updated information for you in just a few moments. stay with us. we left aluminum out and put 48 hour freshness and 1 quarter moisturizers in. dove 0% aluminum deodorant lasting protection that's kinder on skin. wet dishes? residue? spots? it's not your dishwasher's fault. simply add finish jetdry 3in1 to rinse, dry and shine your dishes. solve 3 problems at once with finish jetdry 3in1.
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more now on the breaking news. officials believe four people including a rabbi are being held in a synagogue in colleyville, texas. the fbi and toshs dpublic safetn the scene. let's go to ed who's live on the scene. what's the latest? >> hey, jim. well, we are about as we've been telling you, about a quarter of a mile away from where the synagogue is. we are in the parking lot of a nearby catholic church. you can see some of the state trooper lights there in the distances. down that road where the synagogue is. this is a small neighborhood and it's a very small synagogue. i spoke with one member of the synagogue who was watching the live stream as all of this
unfolded several hours ago. this synagogue member tells me that it's a small conscgregatio. about 140 to 150 families that belong to this synagogue and because of the covid pandemic, the vast majority of people weren't attending sabbath services in person. so that is perhaps one of the reasons why the number of hostages taken in this situation is around that four number. i was told that the vast majority of people have been watching these services online and you can imagine what a horrific morning and afternoon it has been for the members of this synagogue community who this one person i spoke with described watching the live stream for more than an hour, listening to her words, the suspect ranting and raving, sometimes facilitating and oscillating between saying i'm not a criminal and almost
apologetic for what's happening and at the same time, ranting about how he hates jews and that is why he was here and a myriad of other frightening things that were being said. at one point, she told me she was just waiting for a gun shot to go off. the word has been very dramatic, very painful to watch here in the last few hours. especially, she says, because the rabbi of this synagogue has taken such great steps over the last several years of building bridges to the much larger muslim community that is in this area of northeast tarrant county. in fact, we spoke with one of the leaders of a nearby mosque just a short while ago and those muslim leaders say that they are horrified by what is happening, condemning in the strongest possible words the actions of this suspect. going on to say that this rabbi has been someone who has opened their doors to them.
opened their hearts to the muslim community here in this area and that is why they are so troubled by what is happening here this afternoon. but all of this continues as many people, the congregants of this synagogue watching, staying abreast of every development happening. you can imagine how terrifying this afternoon is for them as they wait for any kind of word from their beloved rabbi and members of the congregation that we're being told are being hold hostage. jim. >> i want to make sure i heard what you were saying correctly from the individual who was watching the live stream and saw some of this, witnessed some of this unfold. the hostage taker, the gunman, was expressing some antisemitic animus. animus toward the jewish community. can you expand on that? >> yeah, for sure. the person i spoke with had
talked about, and this went on for more than an hour. she says they couldn't see individual people, but they could hear the suspect talking. at one time, hysterically screaming, she said, in multiple languages that he hates jews and that he picked this synagogue because it was the closest to the dfw international airport, but then would later dgo on to say that he wasn't a criminal. almost apologetic for the actions he was taking there. so it was that wild swing of emotions and swing of rhetoric that was just really terrifying for many of these congregants to hear. >> that is truly frightening, ed. i think it goes to why fbi, law enforcement, they've been handling this so delicately throughout the afternoon. ed, great reporting. thanks for that. that's the latest information from ed lavandera on the scene
in colleyville, texas. we're going to take another break. we'll be back on the other side in just a few moments on this unfolding hostage situation at the synagogue there in colleyville, texas. we'll be right back. now i'm running for me. i've always dreamed of seeing the world. but i'm not chasing my dream anymore. i made a financial plan to live it every day. ♪ at northwestern mutual, our version of financial planning helps you live your dreams today. find a northwestern mutual advisor at nm.com (vo) this year, t-mobile for business is here to help you hit the ground running. when you switch to t-mobile and bring your own device, we'll pay off your phone up to $800. you can keep your phone. keep your number. and get your employees connected on the largest and fastest 5g network. plus, we give you $200 in facebook ads on us!
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we heard that from our josh campbell. with me senior law analyst charles ramsey. kiev, some of the communities have no choice, they have to up their security in light of what's taking place right now. just as a precaution at the very least. >> yeah, if i was a chief in felly or d.c., i would have done it a couple hours ago, once this thing started to unfold. you do it as a caution, not because you have a direct threat. you certainly want to be aware, your officers should know where synagogues were located, mosque are located. what you are asking for is special attention. you want to drive by frequently at a jewish center, stop the car, make a check. check in with people. make sure the car is okay. it's an unfortunate reality. there are a lot of deranged people in the world. we have a lot in the united states. it doesn't have to be directly associated with what's going on in texas now. it's just something that you want to do as a preventative measure to let people know that
are you aware. you are providing whatever level of security that you possibly can and so, right now, maybe that's in dallas. but that will be something you will see around the country. >> chief, your thoughts on that chilling information we heard from our ed lavandara a few minutes ago, that the hostage taker was heard over this live stream displaying a very large amount of anti-jewish animous, as if he chose this synagogue purposely. that goes to how this has to be handled with. >> sure, it does. he is not stable. earlier at one point he was trying to apologize a bit. he started ranting and so forth. so, yes, a very delicate situation. the fact that he is showing
animous against yjews is why th fbi is not taking over at this time. >> i don't mean to cut you off there. we are just getting new information coming in, two law enforcement officials telling cnn investigators believe the hostage-taker at the synagogue may have been motivated by a desire to free a person serving an 86 year sentence at a facility in texas, she was convicted on seven charges, attempted murder and armed assault on officers in afghanistan. we have them up on this, evan perez, shimona. tell us the latest. >> reporter: this is significant, this is why the fbi has been trying to work through this information and we have been so careful. because this notches this entire session up a level. right. you have members of a synagogue, jewish members who have been taken hostage. what appears now to be in the name of a terrorist. someone that the fbi has labeled
a terrorist. she is known as the lady of al quaeda she was actually convicted here in new york city by the u.s. attorney. it was a long fbi investigation. what happened was back in 2008 in afghanistan, she was taken into custody by officials there, when the fbi came there to question her along with military officials, she opened fire, somehow sneaking in a weapon an opening fire on the agents and the military officials. so she was brought back by the fbi on an fbi jet to new york city, where she was charged and convicted by a federal jury. she is serving an 86-year sentence actually in texas. so there could be some questions. this individual, obviously, this all happening in texas. she is serving an 86-year sentence in texas. now, for the fbi, this is certainly significant because if this is, in fact, the
motivation, this changes things, certainly for many reasons. because then you start looking at not only a hate crime but terrorism and having talked to some law enforcement officials, we have not seen a situation like this before here in the u.s. so that is why there is so much concern and you are seed stepped up security. she is thought to be this brilliant woman, a neuroscientist. she got accepted to m.i.. the. t. and a terrorist for quite some time have been trying to force this u.s. to release her. this is why you see the reaction from the fbi. they are working through this investigation now, jim. >> so this has a terrorism link to it. obviously, we will be following the latest. you will be working on all of
this. i'm jim acosta. poppy harlow takes over our live breaking situation in texas. a synagogue where four people are being held hostage. this appears to be motivated by a case of a prisoner linked to terrorism. that's the latest information coming to us. we will follow on all of this coming up after a quick break. poppy harlow takes over our coverage. i'm jim accosta. thank you so much for watching. have a good fight. >>
show up for the first day of school, the last day at their current address. for the mornings when everything's wrong. for the manicure that makes everything right, for right now. show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at helpfosterchildren.com . >> this is cnn breaking news. >> good evening, everyone, poppy harlow in new york in tonight for pamela brown. are you in the cnn newsroom. we are continuing our breaking news coverage outside of colleyville, texas, outside of ft. worth, a hostage situation continues there at the congregation of a beth israel synagogue. four people including th