Gunmen killed in foiled attack on Texas anti-Islam event


A police officer stands near the suspects' vehicle after a shooting outside the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative in Garland, Texas May 3, 2015. Two gunmen who opened fire on Sunday at the anti-Islam art exhibit near Dallas featuring depictions of the Prophet Mohammad were themselves shot dead at the scene, a local CBS television affiliate and other local media reported, citing police.

Two gunmen were shot and killed yesterday outside an exhibition of cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed.

The assailants jumped out of a car at about 7pm yesterday, according to reports, and opened fire at a security guard outside the Curtis Culwell Center.

The guard, identified as Bruce Joiner, was shot in the leg during the exchange. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. Police shot and killed the attackers, Garland city officials said in a statement released to the press.

The exhibit was closed and the area locked down, with attendees evacuated to a nearby high school. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group dedicated to preventing the "Islamization of America", hosted the Mohammed toons exhibit.

The group picked the Garland location specifically to counter an event denouncing Islamophobia held earlier this year, and its president, Pamela Geller, denounced the attack.

"I will not abridge my freedoms so as not to offend savages," she told CNN. "Freedom of speech is under violent assault here."

Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who famously called for the Koran to be banned, was the keynote speaker at the event, according to Reuters.

Depictions of Mohammed are considered blasphemous by Muslims, and have become a common point of conflict. Gunmen killed 12 in January during an attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a publication which used depictions of Mohammed in satirical cartoons.

Photo: REUTERS/Mike Stone