Synagogues consider new security measures after Texas hostage situation

Synagogues across the county are now reviewing their security measures and updating their training protocols after the taking of hostages during a weekend Jewish service inside a Texas synagogue. FOX 9 spoke with a synagogue security expert, who says what happened was disturbing, but not surprising. 

Yoni Bundt, says the security community far and wide, including in the Twin Cities is already assessing what happened and making changes to be better prepared, should something similar happen here. 

"As a faith-based institution, we want to be warm. We want to be welcoming to people. People come to these places for needs to fulfill on so many different levels. And if we start locking our doors and really screening people, metal detectors and all kinds of stuff. That’s a difficult balance. So how are you warm, welcoming and safe at the same time?" 

Bundt, a private security consultant with a law enforcement and emergency management background in both the U.S. and in Israel, says religious institutions are already taking away lessons from the terror-related attack near Fort Worth, Texas. 

Several hostages, including the Rabbi, taken by an erratic gunman, who initially invited into the synagogue to get warm, believing he was homeless. 

As the ordeal dragged on for hours, the Rabbi and the other captives made a daring escape, crediting prior security-related training and acting decisively when their moment to escape arrived.   

"I told them to go. I threw a chair at the gunman. And I headed for the door," Rabbi Charly Cytron-Walker said during an interview on CBS Morning News. "All three of us were able to get out without a shot being fired." 

Bundt credited the actions of the Rabbi. That’s part of the incident assessment taking place – how did the hostage-taker get in? How did people and law enforcement respond once the event escalated? And how can those lessons be implemented? And as Bundt says, God forbid something similar unfolds here? 

"I can sit and give you a PowerPoint, and I can do scenarios. We can go in and practice different things, but when you have a person there who may be threatening your life, and you are worried and concerned," Bundt said. "Being able to hold that, stay calm, stay focused and look, for that moment. That is a tricky thing. It was immensely successful and thank God."