Shots fired at Texas exhibit with depictions of prophet Muhammad; 2 gunmen killed

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Shots fired at Texas exhibit with depictions of prophet Muhammad; 2 gunmen killed
By JPOST.COM STAFF/05/04/2015

Shots were fired outside an art exhibit in Garland Texas, near Dallas, displaying depictions of the prophet Muhammad, a local CBS news affiliate reported Monday.

The shooting was reported shortly before 7 p.m. local time at the Curtis Culwell Center, a special-events venue where the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” was being hosted by anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller.

A security guard at the exhibit was shot in the leg and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He is now in stable condition. Police reported that the two gunmen were shot dead at the scene. There was no immediate word from police or other authorities about the identity or background of the two suspects.

After the first shots were fired, the event was immediately placed on lock-down and all those attending the event were evacuated from the scene by bus. Stores at a shopping center on the same property as the exhibit were also evacuated.

“I heard officers talking of possible explosions in backpacks and the car,” Geller told CBS. “There was talk of a grenade at the nearby Wal-Mart,” she added.

Police sapping robots were in the process of surrounding a car left on the exhibit property that police suspect may contain explosives, according to Fox News.

Western art depicting the Prophet has sometimes angered Muslims and provoked threats from radicals. In January, Islamist gunmen attacked the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the Prophet, killing 12 people.

The Dallas Morning News reported that critics of the art exhibit, sponsored by a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had condemned the event as an attack on Islam, but that organizers had said they were merely exercising their right of free expression.

Reuters contributed to this report.