Two gunmen attacked the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, and were killed by a police officer on the scene after they shot a security guard in the leg.
One gunman, Elton Simpson, was previously arrested by the FBI for making false statements and attempting to join Muslim extremists in Somalia in 2010. While the authorities could not produce sufficient evidence for the terrorism charge, Simpson was put on probation for lying to authorities.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a conservative organization opposed to Islam organized the Muhammad cartoon contest.
The contest was spearheaded by Pamela Geller, the President of AFDI and supported by Breitbart.
Geller alleges on her Twitter account that President Obama has orchistrated a “War on America” and that there is an Islamization campaign going on in the U.S.
She tweeted the following immediately after Sunday’s shootings.
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) May 4, 2015
The keynote speaker at the art exhibition was Geert Wilders, a Dutch parliamentarian who the AFDI calls “one of the very few politicians on the international scene who dares the speak the truth about the jihadist threat.”
In the past Wilders has said that “Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe,” and has called for the banning of the Qur’an.
The art exhibition took place at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, which was the site of a conference in January denouncing Islamophobia.
The AFDI called the anti-Islamophobia stance “an obscene stand for them to take after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.”
The gunmen were carrying assault rifles and their car was loaded with ammunition, although no explosives were found.
The goal of the attackers was to get into the center and attack the exhibition, but they were killed on the street shortly after the officer on the scene began returning fire.
[Washington Post] [Los Angeles Times] [Photo courtesy WFAA]
“He did what he was trained to do and did a very good job. He probably saved lives,” said Garland police spokesman Joe Harn of the police officer who took down the shooters.