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GARLAND, Texas -- Two armed men who opened fire on a security officer outside a contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have been killed, authorities in the Dallas suburb of Garland said Sunday night.

The city said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Sunday night that two men drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center and began shooting at a security officer.

Garland Police Department officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed, the statement said.

The statement did not say whether the shooting was related to the event. The security officer's injuries were not life-threatening, the city said.

The gunmen's vehicle may contain an "incendiary device," according to the statement. A bomb squad was on the scene, and nearby businesses were evacuated.

The New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative had been hosting a contest at the center that would award $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Such drawings are deemed insulting to many followers of Islam. According to mainstream Islamic tradition, any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is considered blasphemous.

Earlier Sunday, about 75 attendees at the contest were escorted by authorities to another room in the conference center.

They were then taken to a separate location, where a reporter was told they could not leave until FBI agents arrived to question them.

Pamela Geller, president of the initiative, said before Sunday's event that she planned the contest to make a stand for free speech.

In January, 12 people were killed by gunmen in an attack against the Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had lampooned Islam and used depictions of Muhammad.

A Section on 05/04/2015

Print Headline: Gunmen killed outside cartoon contest


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