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Blasphemous caricatures: One suspect of Texas shooting ‘identified’

TEXAS: A senior FBI official confirmed on Monday the identity of one of the suspects in Garland, Texas shooting as Elton Simpson, an Arizona man, reported the US media.

Texas police shot dead two gunmen who opened fire on Sunday outside an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) that was organized by an anti-Islamic group and billed as a free-speech event.

ABC News citing an FBI official, who requested anonymity, said Simpson was previously the subject of a terror investigation

“Overnight and today FBI agents and a bomb squad were at Simpson’s home in an apartment complex in north Phoenix where a robot is believed to be conducting an initial search of the apartment.”

Officials believe Simpson is the person who sent out several Twitter messages prior to the attack on Sunday, in the last one using the hashtag #TexasAttack about half an hour before the shooting.

Simpson under FBI radar:

On January 13, 2010, a grand jury indicted Defendant Elton Simpson for knowingly and willfully making a materially false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). The indictment also charged that the statement involved international and domestic terrorism.

simpson

Click here for detailed case report: Elton Simpson under investigation in US district court 

The indictment specified that on or about January 7, 2010, the Defendant falsely stated to special agents of the FBI that he had not discussed traveling to Somalia, when in fact he had discussed with others traveling to Somalia for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad.

The Government is charging Mr. Simpson with making a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1001. The Government is also charging that the false statement involves international or domestic terrorism as defined under section 2331, so that he is eligible for a sentence enhancement pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1001.

Cartoonists on al-Qaeda hit list?

Sunday’s attack took place at about 7 p.m. in a parking lot of the Curtis Culwell Center, an indoor arena in Garland, northeast of Dallas. Geert Wilders, a polarizing Dutch politician and anti-Islamic campaigner who is on an al Qaeda hit list, was among the speakers at the event.

Organizers of the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” said the event was to promote freedom of expression. They offered a $10,000 prize for the best artwork or cartoon depicting the Prophet, as well as a $2,500 “People’s Choice Award.”

The shooting in a Dallas suburb was an echo of past attacks or threats in other Western countries against art depicting the Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). In January, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons.

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