Texas police fatally shot two gunmen who had opened fire Sunday outside an exhibit of Prophet Mohammad cartoons that had been organized by a group that is anti-Islamic and was billed as being an event promoting free speech.
The shooting took place in a suburb of Dallas and echoed the past attacks and threats in other countries against art that depicts Prophet Mohammad. This past January gunmen shot and killed 12 at the offices in Paris is Charlie Hedbo a French satirical magazine in revenge for cartoons in the magazine.
The attack on Sunday took place around 7 p.m. in the parking lot of an indoor arena known as the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, which is northeast of the city of Dallas.
One of the speakers at the weekend event was Geert Wilders a polarizing politician who is Dutch as well as a big anti-Islamic campaigner, who happens to be on a hit list that al-Qaeda has.
Police still had not determined the two gunmen’s identities or if they had been linked to any critics of the event that had been called in anti-Islamic.
The bomb squad from the police department was checking the car of the suspects out of precaution and the vicinity around the arena had been evacuated. Investigators kept their distance from the gunmen’s bodies, which were near the car, until that vehicle was clear as having no explosives.
Just prior to midnight, police alerted the media of a strong electronic pulse that would be activated close to the scene, that presumably was part of the work of the bomb squad and a boom could be heard just moments later.
The exhibit had been organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s president Pamela Geller. Her organization has been described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group has sponsored advertising campaigns that are anti-Islamic in transit systems around the U.S.
In Islam, any depiction of Prophet Mohammad is looked at as offensive. Western art of the Prophet often angers Muslims and has provoked many threats and some attacks from radical groups.
In the incident on Sunday, the suspects drove to the building when the event was finishing and opened fire with automatic rifles on a security guard who was unarmed. He was struck in the leg.