- Two shot dead and security guard injured in Dallas suburb of Garland
- Bomb squad called in after reports of an incendiary device
- Exhibition and contest showcased depictions of the prophet Muhammad
- Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders spoke at the event
The American Freedom Defense Initiative paid for 40 police officers to work as security at their Prophet Mohammed cartoon drawing competition, Dallas News reports, shedding light on how the gunmen who attacked the event were killed so quickly.
The paper, which had a reporter present described “thick security that included Garland police, school district security and private guards”.
Attention is focusing on a tweet sent 15 minutes before the first reports of the shooting from a now-suspended account with the username “Shariah is Life”, in which an individual indicates he his preparing to make an attack. It includes the hashtag #texasattack.
The writer pledges allegiance (bay’ah) to Amirul Mu’mineen, Arabic for “Commander of the Faithful”, before adding: “May Allah accept us mujahideen”.
Here’s a short summary of events as they stand at the moment:
This audio is a brief excerpt from the immediate aftermath of the shooting inside the American Freedom Defense Initiative event in Garland, Texas.
It appears that police are still attempting to determine whether any explosive devices are inside the car of the two gunmen.
Journalists and members of the public have been evacuated from the area, so information from the scene remains scant.
Here’s a short video from Reuters with an update on the current situation:
The Dallas Fort Worth scanner site aggregates information from the radio feeds of emergency services across Texas. The site has created this map with rolling updates of information.
My colleague Bridie Jabour has just filed this explainer on the American Freedom Defense Initiative:
A co-founder of the group behind the contest to award $10,000 for the best cartoon depiction of Mohammed, is a New Yorker who runs a blog that campaigns to stop the “Islamification” of America.
Pamela Geller, used her blog Atlas Shrugs to declare “this is war” in the hours after the shooting of two gunmen at the contest, which had been organised by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group co-founded by Geller and Robert Spencer in 2010.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders also posted this image shortly after the shooting.
The contest depicting the prophet Muhammad was organised by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Here is some prior background to the group and their activities in the US in the Washington Post:
New Yorkers are used to aggressive advertising. Banners for breast implants. Billboards for condoms. But a federal judge’s ruling has opened the door for far more controversial posters on buses and subways across the city.rc="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">
“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a young man in a checkered headscarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”
Dutch politician Geert Wilders was also attending the event in Garland. He also posted this update on twitter shortly after the shooting:
Shots fired at Garland Mohammed cartoon free speech event. I just left the building after speeching. #garlandshooting
At the moment the bomb squad is now assessing the car driven by the two gunmen. There are reports from reporters at the scene of explosions that have been heard coming from the location.
Police can’t tell us about what happened yet but we heard an explosion. Can’t see much activity from our vantage point n parking lot @NBCDFW
Nor do we know identity of the shooters or the motivation for the attack. However, the shooting occurred outside a centre where the American Freedom Defense Initiative was hosting an exhibition and contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
One of the organisers of the event, Pamela Geller, has directly linked the shooting to the event, and said it was an attack on free speech:
This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?
Two men with rifles and backpacks attacked police outside our event. A cop was shot; his injuries are not life-threatening, thank Gd. Please keep him in your prayers.
At this point in time we still don’t have a full account of the circumstances of the shootings. A number of Texas officials have now provided some updates on the event.
This account from Douglas Athas, the mayor of Garland, is the most detailed account we have at the moment:
Two men in a car tried to drive into the parking lot, jumped out with automatic rifles. Started firing at an unarmed schools security officer who was hit in the leg. He was transported to the hospital.
The first suspect was shot immediately. The second was shot and wounded, reached for his backback and, of course, officers not knowing any idea what was in the back pack, shot him again and he was killed.
Garland Police are also warning people to avoid the Culwell Event Centre and surrounding area.
Garland Police are asking people to avoid the area of the Culwell Event Center in North Garland.
The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott has released this statement on the shooting:
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.
Here’s a statement on the shooting released on the Garland Independent School District website:
Earlier this evening, during an event at the Curtis Culwell Center, two men exited a vehicle and began shooting at Garland ISD Security Officer Bruce Joiner. Garland Police, who were on scene, returned fire at the two men, killing both. Officer Joiner was shot in the ankle. He was transported to a local hospital, treated and released. Our thoughts are with him and his family.
Garland Police have secured the area around the Cuwlell Center and Naaman Forest High School. The district is working with Garland PD and will keep you informed as information becomes available.
On Sunday evening in Texas two male gunmen were shot dead outside an exhibition at the Curtis Culwell Centre in Dallas, Texas.
We’ll be delivering rolling updates of events as they unfold throughout the night in the US. Here’s a summary of events so far:
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