Texas temple standoff

FBI Declines to Comment on Mystery Man Reportedly Seen with Temple Hostage Taker

Federal investigators say man acted alone in attack on Colleyville synagogue

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The FBI’s Dallas office has declined to comment on reports of a mystery man who was reportedly seen dropping off Malik Faisal Akram at a Dallas homeless shelter on Jan. 2, two weeks before he took hostages at a Colleyville temple.

Staff at OurCalling, a Dallas homeless shelter, said Monday they saw Akram embrace a man as he stepped out of the car at the shelter. In a statement, the shelter said it has provided security camera video and photos of Akram to the FBI.

The FBI has said initial indications are that Akram acted alone in carrying out the temple attack, taking four people hostage at gunpoint. 

Meanwhile, a security source in the UK tells NBC News that Akram was the subject of a low-level terrorism investigation by the British MI5 intelligence agency in 2020.

The source said that the investigation lasted more than a month and concerned information that Akram might have been involved in Islamist terrorism, but that investigators determined there was no indication of a terrorist threat and the case was closed. The UK government declined to comment on that report, citing the ongoing law enforcement investigation. The Dallas FBI office also declined to comment and referred questions back to MI5.

A US law enforcement source briefed on the Akram investigation told NBC 5 the pace of the investigation remains very “high tempo” and said agents are still trying to piece together details of how Akram chose the suburban temple and how he traveled from Dallas to Colleyville. That’s one piece of the larger probe into how Akram made his way from his home in Northern England to JFK Airport in New York on Dec. 29, and then to that Dallas homeless shelter on Jan. 2.

A second Dallas homeless shelter, the Union Gospel Mission, has also declined to comment on reports that Akram spent time there too, saying that federal and local law enforcement asked shelter staff not to discuss the ongoing investigation.

The FBI’s evidence response team has now wrapped up its work at the temple. Evidence collected will be analyzed both in Dallas and at the bureau’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

Two teenagers taken into custody in the UK in connection with the investigation have been released and will not be charged, Manchester, UK police said. 

As NBC News previously reported, the two teens were the sons of the hostage-taker. They were questioned as part of the investigation into the hostage-taking because they apparently spoke with their father on the day of the incident. 

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