tv CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown CNN January 15, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
p 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 the rabbi
are being held hostage. two law enforcement officials are telling cnn investigators believe the hostage-taker may have been motivated by a desire to free a woman serving an 86-year sentence at a facility near this synagogue in texas. sedeki was convicted more than a decade ago in 2010 on attempted murder and armed assault on a u.s. officer, multiple u.s. officers in afghanistan. that is the latest developments. the white house is monitoring the situation in colleyville, texas. police there are asking the public to stay away from the area even as law enforcement agencies step up security at synagogues and jewish establishments all across the country. first let's begin with my colleague ed lavandara, you have been reporting on your drive there. you just arrived in the last hour, you can update us, are
they making progress? do they know the state of the hostages? >> reporter: well, from our vantage point here, we're a little more than a quarter mile away from the synagogue. you might be able to see through the parking lot here. we are in the parking lot of a phish catholic church, where saturday afternoon services have just started, where you can see some of the state trooper vehicles there in the distance. it is down that road where this hostage situation is unfolding, that immediate area around that synagogue has been closed off as all of this continues to unfold. but it has been described to us by members of this congregation as a terrifying and heart breaking afternoon. we spoke with one congressgant the live stream. they described it as a small congregation. 140-to-150 families.
because of the covid pandemic, the vast majority of people have not been attending in person. that's why there was such a small number of people inside the synagogue when all of this unfolded. it was terrifying. some members describing how they listened to the ranting and ravings of the suspect screaming hysterically inside the synagogue for more than an hour before the live stream was taken off of the synagogue's facebook page and that is why there is such a great deal of concern because at this point many people desperately wanting to know the condition and how well the beloved rabbi and the other members of the congregation inside that synagogue, there has been very little information as to what kind of condition they're in and going through. so all of that leading to the desperation and granting afternoon so many people here, poppy, are experiencing. >> ed, what can you tell us about the way, if you know, and
i know there is a lot of unknowns now. but the way that the lead negotiators on this now are communicating with the hostage-taker. do we know, for example, if he is being responsive? do we know any of that? >> reporter: yeah, all the details of all of that still very much unknown. we do know there is down into indication taking place. but the details of how those communications are going at this point is unknown. but, clearly, a very distressing situation as we spoke to that one member of the congre gation who was listening to the live stream how chaotic it all sounded. you couldn't see anybody, apparently, on the live stream according to this member. sow could just hear the suspect screaming his ter scli ically a
almost apology getting for the action he was taking at this point. so it's that roller coaster of emotions that many people who were watching this closely this afternoon are dealing with right now. >> of course. ed lavandara, thank you so much for all your reporting. stand by, i will let you do that reporting. we will get back to you in a moment. let me bring in a member of beth israel, allen smith joins me on the phone. you can hear me? >> yes, i k. i'm so sorry, i mean, for you the is has to be terrible because you have been going to services here since you were a child. >> it's incredibly shocking and horrifying. >> you can tell me what you, i mean, have you heard anything from relatives of people who may be held hostage right now? is there anything that you can share with us? >> i don't think there's much
new on our end. i mean, i was watching the live stream for about an hour-and-a-half before it got shut down and i have no idea who is in there or what's happening. we're all even members of the congregation watching, holding our breath and hoping for the best outcome. >> it is a tight knit community from all i have heard, i believe 157 member families of the first jewish congregation in this county as incredibly close as you mentioned. what has your experience been there? >> i could not have asked for a better community to grow up. it's incredibly tight. the members of the community come together, my dad got really sick 11 years ago and the community and the rabbi were just incredibly close and supportive of my father and my
family. it was a really difficult time for the community. and probably on everyone. there is in my confirmation class, two people, the entire community showed up for a confirmation. it's a wonderful, wonderful community full of bright and hope. i am grateful to be a part of. >> a wonderful community full of light and hope. one thing that i, you know, i am just realizing is that it's the sabbath and, therefore, for many people and potentially many members of your community. they may not have been looking alt their phone or had their television on today until sun down, for many, they may just be learning of this? >> i think, that may be the case. we are like a pretty reformed synagogue. most folks have heard the news, especially since so many folks are attending virtually. >> yes. >> is there anything that you
can share with us about the building, itself, right, again, there are so many details we don't know? we don't know what part of the synagogue these hostages are being held in, but what can you share with us about the physical makeup of the structure? different entrances, et cetera? >> there are about three ways to get into the building. there are two bathrooms. one for each sex and $like crackdowns and in the main worship area, which is also pretty small in comparison to other synagogues. it's only about the same age, only 17-years-old the building is. and there is a kitchen. that's the whole building. yeah. >> what can you tell us about the rabbi? you've described this as a community of light and hope for
your family, how it came together for you when your father was so ill when you were just a little girl? i've heard just remarkable things about the rabbi as well. >> the rabbi is genuinely the best human i think anyone could ever meet. he is the one that went and sat with my dad. he was not jewish. we are an interfaith family. but the rabbi took time down his day to drive down to see my dad in the hospital. i went on a trip with the rabbi when i was 15 for my confirmation and it was just me and the other kid in my class and the rabbi and he just told inside fokes jokes. he was the coolest to hang out with. every single person, even with that family, it's still a lot of people to keep one and care about. every single person, he cared about all of us. he was really big about getting
it right for the world and using jewish values of compassion and justice to make the world a better place. he's just the best. >> you talk about values of compassion and justice and again, there is so much we don't know. we don't know the motive here. we don't have the name of the hostage-taker. however, once again, in america, you have jewish people being victimized in their holiest places, place of worship. and coming at a time when we continue to see an increase in anti-semitism across this country for you. what is it like to see an attack on jewish people again in america? >> it's unlike the fact that i think the shocking part within my community. >> right. >> it's not shocking that it was
a jewish community. it's awful, but it's the case of anti-semitism have risen lately, but since we were walking the earth, we have been persecuted. it's just seeing it without knowing that it's my community, i could see that it would feel like just another attack on the jewish community and everyone hurts, but in every single attack is painful, but it is almost enev itable that it will all happen again. >> yeah. >> allen smith. i am so sorry this has happened to your community and we are all tonight hoping, holding out hope for the very best. we'll keep everyone posted and obviously if you learn anything else, feel free to get if touch with us again. we are thinking of all of you. >> thank you so much. have a good day.
>> thank you. now, let me bring in former fbi director andrew mci can, a senior law analyst. thank you so much for being here. you know how this works. an fbi crisis negotiator is the lead in talking to this suspect throughout the standoff. you can shed some light on what a conversation like that is like over what now has been a span of you know many hours? >> yeah, sure, poppy. it's so important to recognize this is exactly where the fbi wants to be. to be in contact with the hostage taker to have that negotiator, that trained negotiator on the line. this is the best terms you could be on at this point. so that conversation is taking place and the negotiator is initially trying to assess the hostage-taker's state of mind, their propensity or maybe plans to engage in violence. then they start building a relationship of trust.
their negotiator tries to ask the hostage-taker if there are things that they need like food or water or a communications device, that's, of course, for the purpose of talking to the fbi to kind of build, put some, put a little bit of trust in the bank account as it were. then they start talking about demands. what are those things that the hostage-taker is looking to accomplish. why is he doing this, what does he want to get out of it? and you start having those, all those conversations with the intent of trying to get that person to slowly release some of the hostages. it's not going to happen all at once, of course, or very quickly. but the bole is to get the hostages out of that situation in anyway you can. so if you can bargain and give the hostage takers some of the things, exceed to some of tear demand, as long as you are getting something back. >> that's interesting that you think are almost never would all of these four individuals be
released at once. >> you know, that would be great. but it's unrealistic. you know, you typically you try to get a sense of whether or not there were hostages who were in physical or medical distress. you try to get those people released first. whether there are elderly folks or firm or in tougher shape physically. you try to appeal to this person's sense of maybe wanting to pair down or simplify his situation. trying to convince him having one person is just as valuable as four, why not let the sick person go, that sort of thing. >> andy, thank you very, very much. stand by as we can as wedrop develop this thank you, very, very much. we are watching and monitoring this on the scene. an armed man is holding at least four people hostage. we have the latest next on cnn
newsroom. welcome back. we are following breaking news, really sad breaking news, right near ft. worth, texas tonight, there is a hostage situation. the congregation is beth israel in colleyville, texas. a law official is very much ongoing, tell cnn there are believe to be four hostages currently. witnesses say they were watching a stream of services. the temple is believed to be among the hostages. the white house is monitoring as is merritt garland, the attorney general, two law officials tell us that investigators believe the hostage-taker may have been motivated by a desire to free a wo woman, a counter terrorism groups have dubbed her lady al qaeda. she is serving an 86-area
sentence in texas. she was convicted over a decade ago on seven charges, including attempted murder and armed assault on u.s. officers in afghanistan. with me now is the ceo and the national director of the anti-deaf mission league jonathan green blat. thank you very much. i'm so sorry it is on this news, but thank you for taking the time this evening. >> i'm happy to be here. i wish the circumstance were different as well. >> there is so mitch we don't know. we don't have the name of the hostage-taker. we don't have the names of those being held or their conditions. we don't have a motive. but one thing is very clear. this is people of the jewish faith once again in america being victimized. what is your response to what is happening right now? >> yeah, unfortunately, poppy, i feel like we have been here before. this is the first time that anyone at adl can recall a
hostage-taking at a synagogue. but unfortunately, jewish sites have been targeted again and again and again by extremists over the years and unfortunately, the fits into that pattern very neatly. the reality is that there is a reason why synagogues as well as jewish day schools. jewish community centers, jewish communal offices all have intense community. pause they face a series of threats. now i can tell you sub tronic extremism tracked the her for years even before her arrest. we know her husband is the nephew of al khaledy sheikh mohammed. we know she was affiliated with al qaeda. but most remains to this situation, poppy, we know she has been opened and explicit in her anti-semitism. you anti-jewish semitism looms
large in the minds of extremists. when she was, after she was arrested and she went to court, she insisted there were no jews in her jury poll and used geraint semitic tropes throughout the trial. literally when her verdict was announced and she was con52nd of crimes including shooting u.s. troops in an act of attempted murder, her public exclamation was that this verdict didn't come from america, it came from israeli. so this is a woman who we know and her supporters who we know spout hostile anti-semitic conspiracy theories. again, there is a lot more information to gather about who did this, why they are doing this, but we are very alarmed. >> jonathan, just let me remind our viewers, people are talking about her. she is serving an 86-year prison
service in texas right now. the reason you are describing her and these crimes is because we have just been told in the last hour by two different law enforcement officials that investigators right now believe the hostage-taker in the texas s synagogue situation may have been motivated to try in some way to get her freed. right? >> we don't know to hostage-taker otr six. i appreciate you laying that out. the fact that this was being live streamed and all report secretary for well over an hour, people could hear this. >> so many synagogues, popty, have moved to live streaming services because of covid restrictions. my synagogue, many family and friends, so some you can go to service, but you can live stream them. so it's not a surprise it's being live streamed. this is a reform synagogue
located in suburban dallas and you know many of the members would have been at home watching this on their laptops, on their computers, even on their phones. that's just a part of the if you kind of way that we're worshiping in this post-covid omicron world again what's scary is the idea someone with weapons of come kind i kind could get no the synagogue and hold the rabbi and these people hostage we have staff on the ground in the command center. we are monitoring this closely. poppy, i will tell you, i got many calls this evening from youish leaders around the country. people are scared. people are very, very terrified. >> we know the government, the federal government is deploying across the country. in response to this, jonathan green blat, we are hoping for the best. i appreciate you joining me tonight. >> thank you tore having me. >> cnn is live on the scene of
what is an ongoing hostage situation right now in colleyville, texas, right 94 ft. worth. a man is holding four people hostage inside a synagogue. we'll bring you more right after this. liz, you nerd, cough if you're in here! shh! i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. what about rob's dry cough? works on that too, and lasts 12 hours. 12 hours?! who studies that long? mucinex dm relieves wet and dry coughs. some of my best memories growing up, were cooking with mom. she always said, “food is love.”
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so show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at helpfosterchildren.com . welcome back to cnn, where we are covering breaking news. right now, a rabbi is believed to be among four hostages in a synagogue in colleyville, texas. the suspect reportedly telling negotiators he was motivated by the case of a convicted terrorist serving an 86-year sentence in texas. we'll talk more about that in a
moment. some really significant breaking news just came across. we now know the fbi is still talking to the suspect inside, that is a significant development. he has been inside the synagogue for five-plus hours now. and the colleyville police department just put out a statement saying there have been no injuries reported at this time. so that is a very welcome development. no injuries reported at this time. still a very, very, very, very tense and dangerous situation with four people being held hostage by this arm hostage-taker. let's go to our senior justin correspondent evan perez. there is a lot we don't know. we don't know who is being held. we don't know the hostage-taker's name. what are you hearing from your fbi sources? >> one of the good signs at this stage, poppy, is the fact that according to colleyville police department, they say the fbi is still, the fbi crisis negotiators are still in contact
with the suspect. so that is a good sign. as long as those communications are ongoing, that is, the hope remains that this gets resolved without anybody getting hurt. that's obviously the top, the goal here for the fbi, for the police department that's there on the scene. and that's one of the things they are working on right now. they are trying to reach anybody who may be able talk to this person to try to get them to deescalate and to come out peacefully. that's a part of what happens behind the scenes as the fbi tries to learn more about this person. obviously, we know from our own reporting, we know that one of his beefs so to speak or motivations appears to be this case. so this is one of the things that they're trying to figure out, anybody who knows this person, you know, how far this goes back, what is exactly this
motivation. where does this come from? and to try the figure out a way to get to this person, to make sure that nobody is harmed, as ed reported earlier, you know, if you listen to the live stream, he goes from saying that he doesn't want to hurt anybody to sort of ranting very uncontrollably and seeming to be quite angry about whatever motivation is. so you know, that's one of the things that they want to make sure is to try to bring this down and to try to have them come out without hurting anybody. >> evan, thank you very much for your report,. stand by as i also bring in cnn national analysts and a former philadelphia police commissioner charles ramsey, commissioner, i should say, on what we heard from the colleyville police department. that is their statement that the lead negotiators, the fbi are still in touch with this hostage-taker. also, there are no injuries reported at this time, after five-plus hours with these
people being held hostage. that's significant. >> it is significant. it is good news, first of all, the lines of communication are still there. the fbi has excellent negotiators. so i am glad that they are communicating no one has been injured thus far. it is obviously good. because the safety of the halls is the first and most important thing as we watch this unfold. you know, if this guy's motive was just to kill, he would have done that already. so he is trying to negotiate, if it involves one person already in custody, obviously, this is going to take a little time. so i wouldn't be surprised if this particular negotiation went on for quite some time. earlier, it was mentioneded that he chose the location because it's near an airport. so that kind of tells you his thinking probably is right now in terms of being able to get out of there. but it's going to take some time. but they've got the very best there negotiating.
we'll see how it unfolds. >> julia, what do you make of the reporting that ed brought to us and evan replicated in the tone of the hostage taker from the beginning to where he was ranting and screaming more than an hour in. again this was a large part of it being live streamed on facebook. so, everyone could hear. >> right. so he wanted an audience. we don't know if he knew it was live streamed or he had done surveillance of this synagogue but just picking up on what chief ramsay said, the fact that he did not go in shooting is this space that the fbi now has to try to negotiate to give viewers a sense of the numbers, close to 90% of hostage situation end non-violently. that is because time ends up benefiting the fbi. you see how he gets tired. he already might be in some sort
of mental state. they can position themselves to come in and get him, so while chief ramsay was saying this is horrible for the people in there. different families, of course, the jewish community, it also is better than the alternative, which is someone who came in with a gun. so i am hopeful based on the statistics of how good the fbi is at this, close to 90% again hostage session end non-violently for the hostages. and that's the most important thing. what happens to the hostage-taker is obviously less relevant at this stage. >> what would they be to be offering the sauj taker now that might cause him to andy mccabe said release one or two at a time. he doesn't think all will be
released at a time what would they offer? >> one is listening. this is a person presumably has a little goal and possibly a family-related goal so a part of it is listening and then saying things get better, maybe more likely for you hostage this is all fiction. hostage-taker, if you release the woman, the elderly, and it would be maybe the rabbi who remains as sort of the leader. so that is the kind of negotiations going on. but that's only one piece of what's going on. the football football also knows there may be a potential to go if as well. that itself why we, the media, the community has all been evacuated from around the area. so it's a very tense situation. one in which, once again, the lag in time actually ends up being beneficial. hostage takers get tired.
they can't keep their focus and those weaknesses become something law enforcement can manipulate. >> commissioner ramsay. have you ever had to your department have to deal with hostage situations before? >> yeah. we v. i mean, i have worked in chichld, d.c. and philadelphia. they don't last all that lounge. sometimes it starts off and that's usually the way it unfolds in an hour or go. you are able deal with it. it's fought that often, it's a person barricaded in and may be armed and so forth. again the fbi is skilled bit adds a dimension. you have people you want to see get out unharmed.
so that will be the focus of this this guy needs to understand the only outcome remotely favorable to him is that these people be released unharmed and he come out and surrender. that itself the only option he has. because the other option will not come out for him as well. hopefully, he is able to understand that. >> we thank you both very, very much. we will continue to monitor this breaking news tonight out of colleyville, texas, where an armed man is holding at least four people hostage inside a synagogue. we are also following breaking news out of australia. a jury will decide the fate of novak djokovic's visa debated right now. we are in the cnn newsroom. 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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we are still closely monitoring this hostage situation in colleyville, texas tonight where at least four people are being held at the congregation beth israel synagogue. the rabbi is one of them. part of this incident was cappedtca captured in the live service. the latest reporting is there are no injuries up to this point. let's bring in phil mudd, a counterinvestigator.
can you talk to me about we're over five hours in now to this hostage situation. how and when do the feds decide to go in? >> you got to look at the individuals that the person is holding the four hostages in the room. if there is not a sense if some of that you will get from the emotional state of the person who is evidentially on the phone. if there is not a sense there is a threat to the hostages, i don't see why you wouldn't continue the conversation. eventually, this person is going to get tired. they're not going to be live. we will not be doing this at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. i think the better you are, as long as there is not a threat to the people in the room. >> okay. so it's a good sign if there is a situation like this. this has been going on for this long. let's talk about the motive. because cnn's reporting has come in just the last hour that two law enforcement officials tell us that the investigators right now in this ongoing hostage situation believe that the
hostage-taker may have been motivated by a desire to free a current u.s. inmate who is serving an 86-year sentence in texas right now at a federal prison. her image right there convicted of trying to kill americans overseas. there is a lot more to it than that. what you can tell us about this case? >> a couple things. i remember this case back in go. they have an impressive scientific background in neurosciences and that background includes academic training in the united states. she lived here for quite a while. when she was pickled up in south asia, i think afghanistan years ago, i remember the concern we had was access to extremists or by extremists by someone who had this scientific background if you are interested in toxinles.
she tried to shoot, she took a weapon from one of the guards shortly after she was picked up and tried to shoot him. so i remember that's an indicator this person is not sort of peacefully walking around trying to use her scientific expertise to save people. shelves not in a good way. one last comment. this tells you why it is so difficult for negotiators to walk into a synagogue, thinking that by holding four hostages you can lower the term in prison for a person, that is someone who is not emotionally stable. that will show you how tough it is with negotiators. >> this is someone as you mentioned, was found guilty in this trial of attempted murder of u.s. nationals and government employees. a part of that was trying to fire that weapon and assault against u.s. officers and employees in afghanistan. so knowing that that is clearly what they're working with in terms of this man's key
motivation, so then how do you kconvince him knowing that, how do you convince him to let at least four individuals to let them leave unharmed? >> you have to understand what the levers are that to motivate a person who is thinking in a way that is this irrational. so the life of conversation include and plus whatever information they got off that live stream video presumably in this am of time has allowed them to get into the mind of where his emotions are. you got to bring those emotions down before you can transfer that conversation to something like you need to start releasing hostages if you want to maximize the chance that we can have a conversation. obviously, nothing happened with a u.s. prisoner, will you not offer this person anything. but the first conversation has to be ensuring that the person is not at an emotional level where they're able to harm
somebody else. you can slowly transition as to what do we do about this? i understand. i agree with some of your concerns about someone if prison 80-plus years, developing some kind of rapport. start with emotion now. >> please do not go far. we need to come back to you. we are staying very much on top of this breaking news situation. a hostage standoff currently under way in colleyville, texas, near ft. worth. we are brigg you the hearing to decide the fate of novak djokovic's visa is being debated if court right now. we are live in melbourne next. because sippin' on unsweetened lipton can help support a healthy heart. lipton. stop chuggin'. start sippin'. welcome to the next level. this is the all-new lexus nx. with intuitive tech... (car sfx: beep beep) (car sfx: watch for traffic) ...and our most advanced safety system—ever. ♪
we will have more on the breaking news situation, the hostage situation under way in texas tonight. right now, i do want to go to australia, where a sfral court is hearing novak djokovic's appeal of his visa cancellation. that hearing going on right now, the back and forth whether he'll be allowed to stay in the country and play in the australian open. it's been going on now, a saga for more than a week. the presiding judge is telling both sides to get through their arguments as quick as possible. phil black is in melbourne. what can you tell us about this hearing so far? >> reporter: poppy, this is novak djokovic's last legal play to play in the australian open, which opens tomorrow. he spent the night in immigration detention, after the cancellation of his visa on friday and now his lawyers are arguing that the grounds for that cancellation essentially don't make sense. the immigration minister in this
country, who has the power to cancel visas, has justified this cancellation by saying djokovic's continued presence here would galvanize, would fire up, essentially, anti-vax sent sentiment, that could lead to fewer people being vaccinated and that represents a harm to broader public health here. so, djokovic's lawyers are arguing that that is illogical, that it doesn't make sense, that djokovic has been traveling the world, playing tennis throughout the pandemic and there is no evidence that he as someone who has been pretty private and quiet on his vaccination status has in any way enhanced anti-vax sentiment anywhere in the world. and his lawyers are also arguing that actually quite the opposite. it is the government's heavy-handed actions here by canceling his visa, locking him up in deat the same time, threatening him with deportation, that that, logically, they say, is what is, if anything, enhancing and firing up the anti-vax community in this country. it is likely that the legal
arguments will continue for a few hours, but the court has made it clear, they believe they can wrap this up, at least in terms of the arguments, relatively quick it. it will be a matter of when the decision will come. it is looking likely for today, but we can't say that with any certainly. if his visa is restored, he will take part in the australian open tomorrow. >> okay, so, could be just hours away. phil black, appreciate the reporting. tonight for us, the morning for you, out of melbourne. thank you very much. we are continuing back here in the united states to closely cover this breaking news out of colleyville, texas, where an armed man is holding at least four people hostage inside of a synagogue. cnn has just learned that the fbi interviewed a new york-based rabbi who spoke with the hostagetaker earlier today at the request of the hostage taker. what information might she have learned? more on that when we come back.♪
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this is cnn breaking news. it is the top of the hour, i'm poppy harlow in new york tonight in the seat for pamela brown. you are in the "cnn newsroom," and we are continuing to follow this breaking news out of colleyville, texas. fbi negotiators say they remain in contact with the person holding at least four people hostage inside of a synagogue in te