A contest titled Draw Muhammad was held on Sunday in Garland, Texas. At this event cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad were to be displayed according to ABC News. Two gunmen named Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson attempted to ambush the event and opened fire. The two were killed after shooting at and injuring a security guard. CNN reported that Simpson may have had ties to ISIS based on a Tweet that he posted prior to the attack.
Garland Police stated in an interview on Monday that Simpson and Soofi both used assault rifles in the attack. They just drove up to the entrance and started shooting according to Officer Joe Harn. Even though the entrance had been blocked by a squad car this did not deter them. They shot a school security guard in the leg and a policeman fired back at them instantly. They were subdued and a SWAT team began to fire at them. Both attackers were killed.
The question on the minds of authorities is whether the attack was their own plan and carried out just by them or were they tied to a terrorist group? Regardless, the two went to the Muhammad contest with the intent of killing innocent people and were determined that nothing was going to stand in their way.
Simpson had been previously convicted of lying to federal agents around five years ago about his plans to allegedly join an African terrorist group. Simpson, unlike Soofi, had been under police radar and somehow still managed to take part in this horrible attack which could have been a lot worse had police not intervened in a such a timely manner.
The name of the man who took the first shot at the Muhammad event attackers has not been revealed, but Officer Harn said that he probably saved the day and that definitely seems to be the case. Many more could have been killed had this brave man not taken action. After taking down the two attackers police searched the scene for potential explosives. The attackers’ car was also searched but fortunately nothing was found.
The security guard who was injured at the Muhammad event was treated at a hospital and released. It would have been a horrible tragedy had this person lost their life while trying to keep other people safe. Luckily the security guard’s injuries seem to have been minor and he is on the mend and did not have to lose his life.
Speculation continues based on an article for Who TV that Simpson may have definitely had ties to ISIS. Following the shooting an ISIS propagandist stated that two of their brothers had just opened fire. Simpson had earlier asked his Twitter followers to follow the propagandist. It seems quite odd that this person would reference an attack right after the Muhammad event shooting. While there may not be any direct proof yet that these attackers had ties to ISIS it certainly appears that they did based on the little snippets of information the public has received so far. One also has to remember the fact that Simpson was previously in trouble with the law for terrorist alliances.
The propagandist has been identified according to Who TV as Junaid Hussain who is a British ISIS fighter in Syria and prefers to be called Abu Hussein al Britani. U.S. authorities continue to investigate whether or not the Muhammad shooting has any link to terrorism. Simpson was convicted in 2011 after all of making a false statement about his involvement in international and domestic terrorism. He was sentenced to three years of probation and considered to be somewhat of a threat then by police so clearly the police were justified in their actions. They did not want to take a chance and risk people’s lives. Even if Simpson’s tweet was not directly caused by ISIS who is to say that it was not inspired by ISIS?
These attackers were obviously interested in ISIS and its supporters or Simpson would not have followed a supporter on Twitter. Whether they were directly linked to ISIS or not it is clear that they were dangerous. They ambushed the Muhammad drawing contest with the intent of harming and/or killing innocent people. They would not have went in with guns if their intentions were good. Fortunately the police were able to stop these men from causing any further harm and they ultimately saved the day. The good news is that according to The Huffington Post police will continue to investigate whether or not there was any link between the shooting and international terrorism.
By Heather Granruth