Sen. John Cornyn: Garland Shooting Was ‘Attack on Free Speech’
Texas Senator John Cornyn has issued a statement regarding the fatal shooting that occurred outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas Sunday, May 3.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Garland community and all those affected by last night’s shooting," said Sen. Cornyn. "Quite simply, an attack on free speech is an attack on all Americans. I want to thank Garland law enforcement and all agencies involved for ensuring a bad situation did not become much, much worse."
The shooting happened during a Prophet Muhammad cartoon drawing contest hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Entrants were vying for a $10,000 prize offered to the person with the best cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are prohibited by Islam due to the religion's stance against idolatry. Event organizers claimed they were simply supporting free speech.
According to WFAA, two men opened fire on the event center from inside a car. During the terrorist attack, Bruce Joiner, a Garland Independent School District police officer, returned fire. He was struck by a bullet in the leg -- a non-fatal wound. Joiner has since been released from the hospital.
The two men, one of which has been identified as 30-year-old Elton Simpson of Arizona, were later shot and killed by authorities.
According to ABC News, Simpson, who had previously converted to Islam, was previously convicted in a 2010 case for lying to federal agents and placed on a no-fly list as part of his probation.
Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are prohibited by Islam due to their stance against idolatry.