Police shot two suspects dead after they allegedly opened fire outside a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, yesterday evening. The suspects were shot in the parking lot of the Curtis Culwell Center after getting out of their vehicle around the time that the controversial event inside was scheduled to end, WFAA reports. Police tell NBC News that a security guard was injured in the shooting outside the event, which was policed by up to 40 extra officers. More:
- Late last night, a police rep said the bodies of the men were still near their vehicle, which was being examined by a bomb squad. "It's a very slow, tedious operation that's going on," the rep told the Dallas Morning News. "They may be even having to X-ray different things."
- After the pair got out of their car and started shooting outside the "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest," the "first suspect was shot immediately," Garland Mayor Douglas Athas tells CNN. "The second suspect was wounded and reached for his backpack. He was shot again."
- The event was hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which offered $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the prophet, the AP reports. After the shooting, dozens of attendees were taken to a separate location and briefly questioned by the FBI.
- The injured guard was shot in the leg and has now been released from the hospital, CNN reports.
- Ultra-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was one of the event's highest-profile attendees, reports the BBC. He tweeted that he had left before shots were fired.
- Local Muslim groups believe the attackers may have been "lone wolf" terrorists. They say there had been no plans even for peaceful protests at the event. "We were actively ignoring and encouraging the community to ignore it," the director of the regional Council on American-Islamic Relations tells the Morning News. "We did not want to be the bearers of any kind of incitement."
(Read more Pamela Geller