” One of two gunmen shot dead at an event in Texas exhibiting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad had been a terror suspect, court documents show”, according to BBC News.
On Sunday a car drove into the park of the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, near Dallas, where a Muhammad Art Exhibit organised by the controversial American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) was being held. The conference included a contest that offered a $10,000 prize for a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. The two men in the car opened fire with assault rifles on two security officers, Garland police said to BBC News.
Officials have named them as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, say the New York Times and the Washington Post newspapers. One of the officers, a traffic policeman, returned fire and killed both gunmen, police spokesman Joe Harn said. Official documents show that Simpson had been under surveillance since 2006 and convicted in 2010 of lying to FBI agents over his desire to join violent jihad in Somalia. Officials were searching the Phoenix, Arizona, apartment Monday of one of two men. News reports that Elton Simpson was reportedly known to authorities and has been the subject of a terror investigation. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said state officials are investigating.
AFDI executive director Pamela Geller said the event was “about freedom of speech.” The group’s website said more than 350 cartoons were submitted to “show that Americans will not be cowed by violent Islamist intimidation.” Dutch politician Geert Wilders, a critic of Islam who said last week the United States should ban Muslim immigrants, was the Sunday event’s keynote speaker. He mentioned on Twitter the shots being fired and said he left the building after his address.
On Tuesday ” the Islamic State militant group is claiming responsibility for Sunday’s attack on a convention center outside Dallas, Texas, where a contest for cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad was taking place”, according to VOA.
The extremist group made the announcement Tuesday on its radio station, saying “two of the soldiers of the caliphate” carried out Sunday’s attack on a free speech event in the town of Garland.
“We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter,” the Islamic State group said in its statement, the first time it had claimed responsibility for an attack on U.S. soil.