Je Suis Garland: Two Gunmen Killed Outside Muhammad Cartoon Contest in TexasPosted: May 3, 2015 | |
GARLAND, Texas— Nathan Koppel and Ana Campoy report: Two men were killed Sunday night in this Dallas suburb after they opened fire outside an art exhibit that featured cartoon drawings of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, according to city officials.
The men drove up to an events center hosting the exhibit by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which was offering an award of $10,000 for the top Muhammad cartoon, and began shooting at a security officer, according to a Garland city spokeswoman.
“This is a war. This is war on free speech.”
— Pamela Geller
Garland police who were helping with event security returned fire, shooting and killing the two gunmen, who weren’t immediately identified. The security officer, who worked for the Garland school district, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.
Police suspect the vehicle used by the suspects may also contain an incendiary device, and a bomb squad was on the scene Sunday evening.
Following the shooting Sunday evening, all entrances to the Curtis Culwell Center, which is owned by Garland Independent School District, were blocked off by police cars and flares. A helicopter hovered above the complex’s main pavilion.
“The American Freedom Defense Initiative had chosen the site specifically because the facility had previously booked another event called “Stand With the Prophet” on Jan. 17 by a group trying to combat Islamophobia.”
One of the organizers of the event, Pamela Geller, took to social media to condemn the gunmen Sunday evening, saying that participants were merely practicing free speech.
“This is a war. This is war on free speech…,” she wrote.
The event at the Curtis Culwell Center had garnered controversy before Sunday night’s shooting. The headline speaker at the event was scheduled to be Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician known for harsh criticism of Islam.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative had chosen the site specifically because the facility had previously booked another event called “Stand With the Prophet” on Jan. 17 by a group trying to combat Islamophobia…(read more)
—Alison Sider contributed to this article.