Axios Dallas

Picture of the Dallas skyline.

Happy Tuesday! Life is short. Forgive the people who’ve wronged you.

🌤️ Today's weather: Gorgeous, with highs around 70 in the afternoon.

🎵 Sounds like:We Shall Be Free

⚕️ Situational awareness: Experts are warning about other COVID-19 variants coming after Omicron. So at least we’ll all get a refresher on the Greek alphabet.

Today's newsletter is 941 words, not counting the captions — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: How the Colleyville synagogue standoff ended

A police vehicle outside the synagogue

The eyes of the world turned to Colleyville. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

When the rabbi being held hostage for more than 10 hours Saturday at the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville saw the situation deteriorating, he decided to throw a chair at the gunman and make a break for the exits.

Why it matters: The standoff ended without any of the four hostages injured, but left the gunman dead.

What they're saying: The gunman, later identified as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, "wasn't getting what he wanted," Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker told CBS Mornings.

  • "When I saw an opportunity when he wasn't in a good position, I made sure that the two gentlemen who were still with me — that they were ready to go," Cytron-Walker said. "The exit wasn't too far away. I told them to go. I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door."

How it started: The rabbi told CBS that the hostage taker originally knocked on the glass door of the synagogue. Cytron-Walker offered to make him tea.

  • When Cytron-Walker turned his back to pray, facing Jerusalem, he heard a click. It was the hostage taker's gun.

The big picture: Authorities said they believe the suspect was motivated by a desire to free a Pakistani neuroscientist serving an 86-year sentence in a Texas prison for assaulting U.S. federal agents, employees and nationals in Afghanistan.

In the end: Cytron-Walker says he's still processing what happened.

  • "I just want to give thanks and appreciation for all of the love and all of the support from the Jewish community, my people, from the Muslim community, from the Christian community, from all faiths, all backgrounds, friends, acquaintances, strangers all over the world."

Read the full story.

2. What we know about the Colleyville gunman

Blackburn, in England

Blackburn in northern England, where Texas synagogue hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram is reportedly from. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The man who took four people hostage at a Colleyville synagogue on Saturday was British national Malik Faisal Akram, the FBI said in a statement.

What happened: Akram arrived at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Dec. 29, per the Washington Post.

  • His brother Gulbar Akram said Sunday their family was "devastated" and "do not condone any of his actions."
  • The suspect said he wanted to see Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, who is serving an 86-year sentence nearby, per the Texas Department of Public Safety. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 for assaulting U.S. federal agents, employees and nationals in Afghanistan. Siddiqui's attorney condemned the synagogue incident, per CNN.

Zoom out: Greater Manchester Police, in Northwest England, tweeted on Sunday night that officers had arrested and detained two teenagers in South Manchester for questioning in relation to the siege in Colleyville, "as part of the ongoing investigation into the attack."

  • Matt DeSarno, the special agent in charge at the FBI's Dallas Field Office, said Saturday night that the suspect was focused on "one issue that was not specifically threatening to the Jewish community."

What they're saying: President Biden on Sunday called the siege "an act of terror," according to pool reports. The president, who said he was briefed again on Sunday morning by Attorney General Merrick Garland, also said he would be speaking with Rabbi Cytron-Walker.

  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Sunday evening, “For Congregation Beth Israel & the Jewish community, the immediate crisis is over. Yet the fear of rising anti-semitism remains.”

3. 💔 Cowboys end the season in the most Cowboysian way imaginable

Dak sliding

Dak sliding into another offseason. Ugh. It hurts. Photo: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Cowboys started their first playoff game in three years looking disciplined and well-prepared, and they took an early insurmountable lead and never looked back… is what we wish happened.

What actually happened: Dallas looked flat and got flagged for a franchise record 14 penalties in an insanely frustrating game.

  • San Francisco had a 23-7 lead going into the fourth quarter but a field goal and a short touchdown run from Dak Prescott cut the lead to six points with just over eight minutes left in the game.

That’s when things got chaotic.

The last drive: Dallas got the ball at their own 20 with 32 seconds on the clock and no time outs. Two quick pass plays got the ball close to the 50 with 14 seconds left.

  • Dak took off on a run down the middle and started his slide around the San Francisco 24 yard line, but when he got up to spike the ball, he was tackled by an official who wanted to re-spot the ball.

😩 The heartbreak: By the time Dallas was set, the clock was at zero. The game — and this entire rollercoaster of a season — were over.

  • It was devastating.

By the numbers: Dallas has gone 11 straight playoff appearances without reaching a conference championship game, according to Sports Illustrated. It’s the longest drought since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

The bottom line: This franchise somehow found a new way to crush its fans.

Our thought bubble: So, how about those Mavs and Stars?

  • 😩 😩 😩 😩 😩 😩 😩

4. 🗞️ Burnt Ends: Bite-sized news bits

Illustration of the Deep Ellum neon sign, which says "Burnt Ends" and "Axios" instead of "Deep Ellum" and "Texas."

Somehow other newsworthy things happened, too. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🙀 Lawmakers in Oklahoma plan to introduce a “copycat” bill that mirrors Texas’ controversial abortion law. (DMN)

🥶 ERCOT said that more than 100 electric facilities still have to complete work on winter preparation plans. (NBC DFW)

🏞️ A Houston-based developer plans to build apartments along the Trinity River in Fort Worth after the city’s zoning commission approved the site for mixed-use projects. (Fort Worth Report)

🎸 The 70s rock group Kansas canceled its show in North Texas, citing “band member illness.” Fans will have to carry on waywardly. (CBS DFW)

5. 🌮 One taco to go: Armor Coffee's breakfast tacos

Breakfast taco with a toasted tortilla

Not beautiful, so don't unroll them. Just eat them. Photo courtesy of Cormac West.

This week’s Taco Tuesday travels took us to a coffee shop in Allen. Armor Coffee Co. is a veteran-owned caffeine dispensary with a scratch kitchen that makes — among other things — great breakfast tacos.

  • Armor also serves beer and wine. And the coffee is 👌

What to order: Taco choices include bacon and sausage, but we went with the vegetarian option, filled with fried peppers and onions.

Where: Armor Coffee Co. 190 E Stacy Rd #408, Allen.

Cost: $3.50 each.

Pro tip: If you buy three tacos, you get a two dollar discount. (So load up.)

Six-word review: Toasty tortilla, sprinkled breadcrumbs, morning bliss.

🤔 Know of a great taco we should try? Hit reply, and let us know.

Our picks:

🔫 Mike is reading this Rachel Monroe story in Harper’s about the effects of permit-less carry and the new gun-rights extremism.

🍝 Tasha is debating whether she should watch The Sopranos because she liked the Godfather movies so much.

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