Texas shooting: Anti-Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest; two killed
WASHINGTON: Two armed men, who attacked Sunday in Texas at a building where anti-Islam group organized Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) cartoons contest in the presence of Dutch populist Geert Wilders, were shot dead after a shooting, authorities said.
Two men “approached by car” outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, when ended a contest of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) cartoons organized by anti-Islamic group and opened fire with automatic rifles at an unarmed security officer, said a statement from the city of Garland posted on Facebook.
Two police officers then responded and killed the two men, the statement specifying that the wounds of the security officer did not put his life in danger.
The cartoons contest was organized by Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
Pamela Geller’s organization AFDI is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, has sponsored anti-Islamic advertising campaigns in transit systems across the country.
The organization is known for its anti-Islamic positions, was presented as an event for “freedom of expression,” and featured speeches by AFDI president Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, a polarizing Dutch politician and anti-Islamic campaigner who is on an al Qaeda hit list.
In an email to AFP, Geert Wilders said he was “shocked” and denounced “an attack on the freedoms of all.” Stating to be “safe”, he said he “had spoken for half an hour of cartoons of Islam and freedom of expression and had left the premises.” “I hope that the security officer is going well,” he added.
Geert Wilders, known for his anti-Islam rants, had previously commented on the incident on Twitter: “Shots in Garland, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) cartoon contest for freedom of expression. I just leave the building garlandshooting”.
Shots fired at Garland Mohammed cartoon free speech event. I just left the building after speeching. #garlandshooting
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) May 4, 2015
As a precaution, a police bomb squad was checking the suspects’ car, and the immediate vicinity of the Culwell Center was evacuated, city police spokesman Joe Harn said. Investigators were keeping their distance from the bodies of the gunmen, which were close to the car, until the vehicle was deemed clear of explosives, he said later.
Shortly before midnight police alerted media that a strong electronic pulse would be activated near the scene, presumably as part of the bomb squad’s work, and a loud boom was heard moments later, though police did not comment further on what was done.
The surrounding shops were evacuated, as well as the center where the incident was took place.
People of Muslim countries appreciated the act and raise voices to kill those who attempted blasphemy.