Two armed men opened fire on a security officer outside a controversial contest for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, authorities say, and were subsequently shot and killed by police.
The shooting occurred in Garland, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, on Sunday night. The security officer’s injuries are not life-threatening, the City of Garland said in a statement on their Facebook page.
“Police suspect the vehicle may contain an incendiary device and the bomb squad is on the scene,” the city’s statement continues.
The city does not say whether the shooting was related to the cartoon contest, but notes that it occurred in front of the Curtis Culwell Center, where the event was happening.
The Associated Press provides some context:
The New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative had been hosting a contest at the center that would award $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Such drawings are deemed insulting to many followers of Islam and have sparked violence around the world. According to mainstream Islamic tradition, any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad — even a respectful one — is considered blasphemous.
The AFDI, as the organization is also known, is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group.
The AP spoke with Pamela Geller, the president of the organization, before Sunday’s event; she said the cartoon contest was planned in response to prior violence over drawings of Mohammad.
“Though it remained unclear several hours after the shooting whether it was related to the event, she said that the shooting showed how ‘needed our event really was,’ ” the wire service reports.