Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, one of four people held hostage for hours in a Texas synagogue on Saturday, has shared a statement thanking law enforcement and loved ones after his ordeal.
The hostage situation began just before 11 a.m. on Saturday in Colleyville, a city in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Cytron-Walker and three other people at the synagogue were taken hostage by a man who was demanding the freedom of a federal prisoner who had been convicted of attempted murder in a 2010 terrorism-related case, according to NBC News.
At around 5 p.m., one hostage was released. A rescue team entered the synagogue at around 9 p.m. The three remaining hostages were rescued. The man who held them hostage is dead, according to law enforcement, but they have not revealed how he died.
Officials told NBC News that the hostages were not physically harmed and were reunited with their families.
Cytron-Walker wrote that "hours after being released," he was "thankful and filled with appreciation" for those who made his rescue possible.
"I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for the (Congregation Beth-Israel) Community, the Jewish Community, the Human Community," he wrote. "I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive."
According to the Congregation Beth Isreal's website, Cytron-Walker is the congregation's first full-time rabbi and has served in his role since 2006. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Cytron-Walker was ordained in 2006 and has worked with human rights organizations, homeless outreach groups and other community service agencies during his career.
According to the website, Cytron-Walker "remains completely in love" with wife Adena Cytron-Walker and "simply adores" his two daughters.
The other three people who were held hostage have not been identified.
The hostage-taker has not yet been identified.