— Brian Ross (@BrianRoss) May 4, 2015
Update: 5/4/15, 4:45 p.m. EST:
Law enforcement officials on Monday identified the second gunman in a shooting Sunday at an event in Texas where people were invited to show cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, reports The New York Times.
The second gunman, Nadir Hamid Soofi, 34, was identified as the compatriot of Elton Simpson, 30, who was identified earlier in the shooting, The Times writes. Both men were killed at the scene outside of a community center in Garland, Texas.
They reportedly opened fire after exiting a vehicle, striking a security officer. An unnamed police officer returned fire with his pistol, killing both gunmen, the report says.
Motives for the attack remain unclear, but representations or drawings of the prophet are considered offensive in most interpretations of Islam, the Times explains.
Reports The Times:
The two men drove up to the event center in Garland, about 6:50 p.m. Sunday, stepped out of their car holding assault rifles, and began shooting, wounding a security guard, the police said.
The police and F.B.I. agents in Phoenix searched an apartment believed to be Mr. Simpson’s, with much of the Autumn Ridge apartment complex cordoned off through the night. At the same time, F.B.I. agents and technicians were aiding the police in Garland, a city just outside Dallas, in their investigation.
The shooting took place outside the Curtis Culwell Center here, at an event organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a New York-based group that also uses the name Stop Islamization of America.The event included a contest for the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, with a $10,000 top prize.
A 30-year-old Black Muslim convert was one of two men shot and killed by police in Texas Sunday after the duo allegedly began shooting outside a contest for drawing the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a Dallas suburb, according to ABC News.
Elton Simpson, an Illinois native who lived in Phoenix, Ariz., was killed in the shooting in Garland, Texas about 6:30 p.m. outside a community center.
He was reportedly known to federal law enforcement agents, and investigators believe Simpson tweeted several messages with the hashtag #TexasAttack about a half an hour before the shooting, the report says. No information was available about his accomplice, believed to be Simpson’s roommate in Phoenix, the report says.
ABC News reports:
Local police said two suspects opened fire late Sunday outside a community center in Garland that was hosting an event displaying cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. One unarmed security guard was injured, but other security officers managed to fatally shoot both attackers before anyone else was hurt or killed.
John Iannarelli, Assistant Special Agent in Charge FBI’s Phoenix office, said authorities in Texas traced both suspects to the Phoenix apartment and that the two appear to have been roommates. The second suspect has not been publicly identified.
Followers of ISIS had been sending messages about the event in Texas for more than a week, calling for attacks. One referenced January’s Charlie Hebdo massacre in France and said it was time for “brothers” in the United States to do their part.
Simpson was reportedly “well known” by the FBI and was the subject of prior federal investigations; agents allege he was a sympathizer with Islamist terrorist group ISIS, according to a report at Heavy.
The FBI began investigating Simpson in 2006, when they began recording conversations he was having with an informant. He was arrested in 2010.
According to court records, Simpson received a sentence of three years probation in 2011 after he was found guilty of making a false statement to the FBI.
The news site says Simpson was born in Illinois and reared in Phoenix, where he “converted to the Muslim religion at a young age.”
The “free speech” art exhibit and contest, themed “Draw the Prophet,” was created by the American Freedom Defense Initiative in response to a pro-Muslim event in January that drew thousands of protesters. It included the awarding of a prize to the cartoonist who drew the best depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. More than 300 entries were received for the contest, with an award of $10,000, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Islam forbids representations of Muhammad, and similar cartoons led to the shooting in January at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, notes Heavy.