Details have emerged of the movements of the gunman who took four poeple hostage in a Texas synagogue in the days leading up to his death.
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, arrived in the US at Kennedy Airport in New York on 29 December and was questioned by customs officials, but as there were no red flags in the system he was allowed to enter the country, according to NBC.
Akram, who took four people including a rabbi hostage, had told family members he wanted to get married and was going to go to Texas to find a Mexican bride.
Hostage-taker ‘purchased stolen gun’
After two days he asked relatives in Britain for more money to get to Texas and took a flight to Dallas Fort Worth on New Years’ Eve, the broadcaster said.
He stayed in homeless shelters in the Dallas area in the days before the attack on Saturday.
It is believed he purchased a gun on the streets which had been stolen in 2020.
Akram demanded release of al Qaeda suspect
During the standoff with police in Colleyville, Akram demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is suspected of having ties to al Qaeda and was convicted of trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan.
The prison where Siddiqui is serving her sentence is in nearby Fort Worth.
The standoff ended when the last of the hostages ran out of the synagogue and an FBI SWAT team rushed in 10 hours into the standoff and shot Akram dead. All four hostages were unharmed.
Attacker was not on Terrorist Screening Network
Akram is understood to have been investigated by MI5 in the second half of 2020, but it has emerged that he was not believed to have been on the US Terrorist Screening Database.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “Our understanding, and obviously we’re still looking into this, is that he was checked against US government databases multiple times prior to entering the country, and the US government did not have any derogatory information about the individual in our systems at the time of entry.
She added: “We’re certainly looking back … what occurred to learn every possible lesson we can to prevent attacks like this in the future.”
Family say he was ‘suffering from mental health issues’
Akram’s family has said he was “suffering from mental health issues”.
“There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender,” his brother Gulbar said in a statement.
Two teenagers arrested in Manchester by officers from Counter Terror Policing North West as part of the investigation into the attack have since been released.