[Rushtalk] Police kill 2 men who opened fire outside Muhammad art show in Garland
lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Mon May 25 18:33:05 MDT 2015
Police kill 2 men who opened fire outside Muhammad art show in Garland
Nomaan Merchant/The Associated Press
Garland officers kept attendees inside the Curtis Culwell Center after
By TRISTAN HALLMAN and RAY LESZCYNSKI thallman at dallasnews.com,
rleszcynski at dallasnews.com
Published: 03 May 2015 07:15 PM
Updated: 03 May 2015 11:45 PM
Bruce Joiner, a Garland ISD security officer, was treated at a
local hospital and released.
Two men who opened fire outside a contest for cartoons depicting the
Muslim prophet Muhammad were killed by police Sunday at a Garland ISD
The controversial event at the Curtis Culwell Center was wrapping up
shortly before 7 p.m. when the two gunmen pulled up in a car and shot an
unarmed Garland ISD security officer.
Garland police returned fire and killed the two gunmen before anyone
else was hurt.
The security officer, Bruce Joiner, was released from a hospital after
he was reportedly treated for a leg wound.
The bodies of the gunmen remained on the street outside the Culwell
Center hours after they were shot, and their identities had not been
released late Sunday.
A bomb squad was investigating whether explosives might be in their car.
Police locked down the events facility to protect people inside. About
200 tickets for the event had been sold for the contest, which drew
about 300 entries. After people were evacuated from the event, they were
driven to a secure location to await questioning by the FBI.
Johnny Roby of Oklahoma City said he was outside the Culwell Center when
he heard about 20 shots that sounded as though they came from a passing
car. He said he then heard two more shots before police rushed him back
into the building.
The New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative had organized the
event to award a cash prize for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad.
Caricatures of the Islamic prophet are considered offensive by many
Muslims, but the show’s organizers said they were exercising their
freedom of expression.
Nathan Bassett and Stephen Perkins had been inside the center when the
gunshots erupted and were walking to their cars when they saw officers
“We were really confused,” Bassett said. “There was a lot of confusion,
a lot of people and a lot of officers.”
Nearby businesses, including a Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Academy, were
evacuated. Police had said before the event that they didn’t see a need
to warn area businesses of any chance of violence.
Before the shooting, the scene was unremarkable outside the Culwell
Center, except for the thick security that included Garland police,
school district security and private guards.
“We were expecting protests outside the building,” Perkins said.
But Alia Salem, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations Dallas-Fort Worth, said she and other Muslims had wanted
nothing to do with the event.
“We were actively ignoring and encouraging the community to ignore it,”
she said. “We did not want to be the bearers of any kind of incitement.”
Before the shootings, the organizer of the event, Pamela Geller,
dismissed critics who called her American Freedom Defense Initiative an
“As if pursuing good in the extreme makes it a bad thing,” she said.
She said Sunday night that the shooting showed how “needed our event
The event’s keynote speaker, Geert Wilders, was a right-wing Dutch
lawmaker known for a hard-line stance against Islam.
“We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of
speech,” he said during his speech shortly before the shootings. “That
is our duty.”
He was greeted with a standing ovation, and he told the audience that
most terrorists are Muslims, and “the less Islam the better.”
The American Freedom Defense Initiative paid an additional $10,000
upfront for 40 officers to work security at the event. Geller called
that expense “the high cost of freedom.”
Police had been monitoring social media for online threats. Late Sunday,
authorities were checking into activity on Twitter that included
“#texasattack” before the gunfire began: “May Allah accept us as
mujahideen [those engaged in jihad],” a message said.
The winner of the contest, Bosch Fawstin, said that when he saw the high
level of security, he didn’t believe there would be any kind of danger.
“I had known it would be secure, but seeing it is a whole new thing,” he
said before the shootings.
In January, the Culwell Center had been the scene of dueling protests
during a pro-Muslim Stand With the Prophet in Honor and Respect event in
Some protesters then called for peace and understanding, while
anti-Muslim demonstrators argued that extremists’ beliefs threatened the
Garland ISD had faced criticism for the decision to book the January
event a little more than a week after Islamic militants in France killed
12 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
School board president Rick Lambert rebuffed the criticism, saying, “the
Culwell Center is available for rental as long as you comply with the
Staff writers Claire Z. Cardona, Julie Fancher and Naomi Martin and The
Associated Press contributed to this report.
UPDATE: Injured officer released
Authorities identified the Garland ISD security officer who was shot
Sunday as Bruce Joiner.
He was hospitalized for an ankle wound but was released Sunday night.
Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said Joiner was dressed in a
police-style uniform but was not armed.
Before joining the school district’s security force about two years ago,
Joiner, 58, served as a Rowlett police officer and a duty sergeant at
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
April 28: Islam debate returns to Garland ISD’s Culwell Center with
Muhammad art event
* Feb. 17: Anti-Islam group books Garland ISD arena; district cites
nondiscriminatory facilities policy
* 'Muhammad Art Exhibit' group billed $10,000 to pay 40 officers for
security at Garland ISD site
* Jan. 15: Protesters picket Islamic conference in Garland
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