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Abbott: State Officials Probing "Senseless" Attack

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune
Gov. Abbott called the shooting in Garland during a contest to draw a picture of the Prophet Muhammed a "senseless attack."

Gov. Greg Abbott said late Sunday that Texas officials are investigating a "senseless attack" in Garland that left two gunmen dead outside a contest featuring cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. 

As the event was winding down, the men drove to the front of the venue and opened fire on a security guard, according to a statement from the city of Garland, a Dallas suburb. Garland police returned fire, shooting and killing the men. The security guard's injuries were not life-threatening. 

"This is a crime that was quickly ended thanks to the swift action by Garland law enforcement," Abbott said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those affected tonight."

Police suspected the vehicle driven by the gunmen might have an "incendiary device," according to the city, and a bomb squad was on the scene late Sunday night.

Little was known about the gunmen. "I don't have any idea at this time who they are," Garland police spokesman Joe Harn told reporters at the scene.

When asked if the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was offering assistance or investigating the incident, Director Steve McCraw told The Texas Tribune, "Yes and that is all we can say."

On Twitter, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wrote that his office was in touch with DPS. “Facts still unfolding,” he added. 

Inside the event, dozens of people had gathered to vie for a $10,000 award for the best drawing of Muhammad. Depictions of the prophet are offensive to many Muslims. 

Prominent conservative activist Katrina Pierson was among the attendees. Pierson recalled a relative calm as authorities worked to move attendees to a safe location. 

"Everyone just sang and prayed and there was no chaos," she recalled. "It was praying for the officer that was shot and praying for our country and praying for free speech."

Terri Langford contributed reporting.

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