Kudos to this police officer for serving and protecting the citizens of Texas!
A Texas traffic cop saved untold lives Sunday night when he took down two heavily armed men bent on storming a building where a ‘Draw the Prophet’ Muhammad contest was taking place, killing both before they could make their way inside.
The police officer, who has not been identified by Garland Police Department officials, “probably saved lives,” said police spokesman Joe Harn, who added that “his reaction, and his shooting with a pistol, he did a good job.”
Harn said the two suspects, believed to have driven some 1,100 miles from Phoenix to invade the contest at a suburban Dallas venue, shot assault rifles outside, wounding a security guard and hitting at least one police car. Local police, a SWAT team, FBI and ATF agents were on hand for the event, attended by 75 people, which authorities anticipated could anger Muslim hardliners. Authorities in Garland said the men — wearing body armor — drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center on Sunday night and began shooting at a security officer with assault rifles.
Two tweets apparently sent out prior to the shooting from two social media accounts linked to radical Islam seemed to foreshadow the attack. One, sent at 6:35 p.m., some 15 minutes before the attack, used the hashtag #texasattack. “May Allah accept us as mujahideen,” it said.
“We think [the suspects’] strategy was to get to the event center [and] into the event center,” Harn said. “We were able to stop those men before they were able to… shoot anyone else.”
But it was the unidentified Garland police officer, who spends most of his shift assigned to traffic duty, who killed both suspects, who were each dead at the scene.
“[The officer] did what he was trained to do,” Harn said.
Police were searching a Phoenix apartment complex Monday as part of the investigation into the attack.
Police did not say whether the shooting was related to the event, a contest hosted by the New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that would award $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
The suspects were identified as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, a senior federal law enforcement official told Fox News. The men were roommates.
Although the suspects’ ties to a specific terrorist organization could not be immediately confirmed, Simpson was known to U.S. intelligence and had been part of a recent terror investigation for allegedly trying to travel to Africa, home of the Al Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab, sources told Fox News.
Court documents show that a man named Elton Simpson was convicted in Phoenix of lying to the FBI in January 2010, about whether he’d discussed traveling to Somalia. According to trial testimony, Simpson is an American Muslim who became the subject of a criminal investigation in 2006 because of his association “with an individual whom the FBI believed was attempting to set up a terrorist cell in Arizona.”
Simpson was convicted, but a judge ruled that prosecutors hadn’t proven the false statement involved terrorism. Simpson was later sentenced to three years of probation.
FBI agents have been at the Phoenix apartment complex — some 1,100 miles from the Garland, Texas, crime scene — since late Sunday night and are reviewing computer records from materials found at the residence. Police tape continues to surround the area, KSAZ reports.
Agents had broken into a white minivan and spent hours looking at it, taking pictures and removing items. They’re also are examining and photographing pages of a notebook or papers in the trunk of a second vehicle, a silver sedan. The sedan is parked in a covered spot near the building where the apartment is located.
Read more: Fox News