A search for explosives continues after two would-be Muslim terrorists were shot and killed outside a “Muhammad Art Exhibit” in Garland, Texas on Sunday. The two suspects drove up and opened fire near the center, hitting a Garland ISD officer, before Garland police put them down.
One of the suspects is thirty-year-old Elton Simpson, who was convicted in a terror investigation five years ago, but incredibly, was given probation. The terror suspect well known to the FBI is named as one of two gunmen shot dead by cops after the attack on the anti-Islam ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest near Dallas.
The two heavily-armed men, who were believed to have been carrying explosives, were killed by police after opening fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Dallas, at around 7pm during an event where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were being displayed.
Followers of Islam deem that any physical depiction of the prophet – even a positive one – is blasphemous.
Ahead of the attack on Sunday evening, several Twitter messages were sent out, and authorities believe Simpson was behind them. The last one was shared just half an hour before the attack. Police suspect this Tweet as being from Simpson, but no confirmation of this has been made.
After his identity emerged, FBI agents and a bomb squad swarmed Simpson’s apartment in north Phoenix, Arizona and used a robot to carry out the first sweep of his home, the channel reported. The second gunman’s identity is not yet known.
Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, put on the Muhammad Art Exhibit. She referred to it as a “free speech event” on Twitter. One tweet from her after the apparent attack read “this is a war.”
Attendees of the event were rushed inside the Culwell Center after gunfire was heard. People in a secure room at the center sang patriotic songs.
Witnesses who saw or heard the events were later bussed to the Garland police station. Others were taken to a different secure location at a nearby school. Approximately 200 people attended the event Sunday, Harn said.
Governor Greg Abbott released a statement on the shooting Sunday:
“Texas officials are actively investigating to determine the cause and scope of the senseless attack in Garland, Texas. This is a crime that was quickly ended thanks to the swift action by Garland law enforcement. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those affected tonight.”
Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, National Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, also released a statement:
“Violence is never an acceptable response to hate speech, no matter how inflammatory and uncivilized that speech is. While we do not yet know what motivated these shooters, we urge calm and defer to local, state, and federal authorities to peaceably and justly resolve this.”
ABC News says ISIS followers were calling for attacks leading up to the Garland event.
“The brothers from the Charlie Hebdo attack did their part. It’s time for brothers in the US to do their part,” one supporter wrote.
“Brothers in Garland Texas Please go to there with your weapons, bombs or with your knives. Threaten your enemies & the enemies of Allaah,” another wrote last week.
The building, which had about 100 people inside, and surrounding areas were placed on lockdown by SWAT teams.
FBI bomb squad robots were then sent in to check the suspects’ vehicle, as the two bodies of the gunmen lay on the road beside it. The bodies were not immediately taken from the scene because they were too close to the car, which police feared had incendiary devices inside.
Shortly before midnight, police alerted media that a strong electronic pulse would be activated near the scene, presumably as part of the bomb squad’s work, and a loud boom was heard moments later, though police did not comment further on what was carried out.
The art event had been condemned by critics as an attack on Islam, but the organizers insisted they were exercising free speech.
Some Twitter users began posting about the shooting using a #JeSuisGarland hashtag, mirroring the #JesuisCharlie hashtag that became popular after January’s jihadist attacks in France. In that incident, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the prophet.
The Garland ISD officer, identified as Bruce Joiner, was shot in the lower leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries
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