Donate to the Q13 FOX Cares and Les Schwab Holiday Toy Drive

Two shot dead after they open fire at Mohammed cartoon event in Texas

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GARLAND, Texas (CNN) — [Latest developments]

11:34 p.m.: About 200 people attended the event, said police spokesman Joe Harn.

11:15 p.m. : Most of the attendees were from out of state, Garland Mayor Douglas Athas said.

11:14 p.m.: “We have no other indication that anyone else was involved,” he said.

11:12 p.m.: The security guard who was shot was unarmed, he said.

10:54 p.m.: A local imam tweets the attack at the center was “just what we didn’t need.”

10:49 p.m.: The security guard who was injured in the shooting has been treated and released.

[Full story]

Two men who opened fire outside a contest for Prophet Mohammad cartoons in a Dallas suburb were shot dead by police Sunday night, authorities said.

The men drove up to the Culwell Event Center in North Garland, got out of their car and began shooting just as the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” inside was coming to an end, Garland police spokesman Joe Harns said.

An unarmed security guard was shot in the leg. He was later treated and released from a hospital.

Police who were helping with security at the event fired back, killing both gunmen.

“The first suspect was shot immediately,” Garland Mayor Douglas Athas told CNN. “The second suspect was wounded and reached for his backpack. He was shot again.”

The gunmen’s identities weren’t immediately released.

“We have no other indication that anyone else was involved,” Athas said.

FBI and local officials were checking on the gunmen’s vehicle for explosives and the area around the center was blocked off.

Surrounding businesses, including a Walmart, were evacuated, as were attendees from the Curtis Culwell Center.

Heavy security for event

The event was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is considered an anti-Muslim group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

The group said it specifically picked the venue, a public school-owned facility, because it was host to a event denouncing Islamophobia in January.

The event invited cartoonists to send in cartoons of Prophet Mohammad and the group said it received more than 350 submissions. The winner stood to win $10,000.

There were about 40 people at the event when police announced there had been a shooting.

“Most of the people who were there were from out of state,” Athas said.

Depiction considered blasphemy

While details about the gunmen, including their religion or their motive, weren’t immediately known, depictions of Prophet Mohammed are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

The prohibition against illustrating the Prophet Mohammed began as an attempt to ward off idol worship, which was widespread in Islam’s Arabian birthplace. But in recent years, it has taken a deadly toll.

In January, gunmen attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine that has a controversial history of depicting Mohammad, and killed 12 people.

The next month, a gunman attacked a free speech forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, featuring a controversial cartoonist.

Shortly after the shooting, a prominent Muslim leader in Dallas said tweeted that the incident was “just what we didn’t want.”

“The community stayed away from event,” wrote Imam Zia Sheikh. “Seems like a lone wolf type of attack. Just what we didn’t want.”

‘This is a war’

The keynote speaker at the Garland event was right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders who was placed on an al Qaeda hit list for his film “Fitna.”

The film, which Wilders released online in March 2008 to international outcry, features disturbing images of terrorist acts superimposed over verses from the Quran in an apparent attempt to paint Islam as a threat to Western society.

In 2011, Wilders was cleared on charges of inciting discrimination and hatred over a controversial film he made about Islam.

The group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, is considered an anti-Muslim group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

Its president, Pamela Geller, is “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead,” the SPLC says.

Geller took to her own website shortly after the incident, writing, “This is a war. This is war on free speech.”

CNN’s Vivian Kuo, Janet DiGiacomo, Chris Lett and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

4 comments

  • dg54321

    Welcome to the antithesis of a gun free zone, terrorists. Everyone take note at how quickly the threat was stopped when the occupants were not disarmed for their convenience.

  • Brad F

    We either have freedom of speech, or we don’t. Freedom of speech is one of the founding principles of our country. Non-offensive speech does not need to be protected. I don’t think you can find a subject that doesn’t offend somebody. Was the exhibit offensive to muslims? Clearly. Was the attack predictable? Definitely. Personally, I am offended when college students and others trample on the American flag. I am offended when people in countries we send billions of our tax dollars to in the form of aid burn our flag and shout “death to America”.

  • JustMe

    Good! More justice served against cretins who belong back in their stone age countries. I’d love to show off my own rendition of their “prophet.” But until we all agree to give them all one way tickets back to where they belong, I’ll hang onto my drawings and just drop copies here and there lol OK, I am too busy to do that, but it’s fun to think about.