Two dead, one wounded at US Mohammed cartoon contest
WASHINGTON DC, USA (UPDATED) – Two gunmen were shot dead Sunday, May 3, and a security guard wounded outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas, authorities said, as a bomb squad investigated the gunmen's car.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) organized the event featuring far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has been outspoken against Muslims.
"I am shocked. I just spoke for half an hour about the cartoons, Islam and freedom of speech and I had just left the premises," Wilder told Agence France-Presse in an email.
"This is an attack on the liberties of all of us!" Wilders wrote. He added that he was safe with police.
Police said two men drove up to the conference center in Garland, Texas, near Dallas and began shooting at a security guard.
"Garland Police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed," the city of Garland said in a statement.
The security guard suffered injuries that were "not life-threatening," the statement said.
Police said they suspect the gunmen's vehicle may contain an "incendiary device" and a bomb squad is on the scene.
AFDI offered a $10,000 prize for the winner of the cartoon contest that was billed as a "free speech" event.
AFDI co-founder and political activist Pamela Geller called the shootings a "war on free speech."
"What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?" she wrote on her website.
"The war is here."
Many Muslims find depictions of the Prophet Mohammed offensive and such cartoons have triggered violent protests, including when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering deadly protests in some Muslim countries.
The cartoons were also published in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, where gunmen killed 12 people in January. – Rappler.com