UPDATED: Garland ISD Security Officer Shot, Two Gunmen Killed at Mohammed Cartoon Contest

UPDATE, 5/17/16: Just more than a year after an attempted attack on a Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Garland police officer Gregory Stevens was awarded the U.S. Medal of Valor by President Obama.

Stevens shot and killed Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, two ISIS-inspired men who tried, and failed, to commit a mass shooting of the contest's participants. The medal is awarded to personal safety officers who "exhibit exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect others from harm," according to the White House

Texas Governor Greg Abbott praised Stevens on Monday.

"On behalf of the State of Texas, I would like to congratulate Officer Stevens on receiving the Medal of Valor and for displaying extraordinary courage in the line of duty. Officer Stevens' decisive action prevented two terrorists from carrying out horrific attacks on Texas soil, and our state and nation will forever be indebted to him for his service and bravery," Abbott said.

ORIGINAL STORY: Two men were killed by Garland police Sunday night after they opened fire on a Garland ISD security guard outside of a Mohammed caricature contest.

The event, held at the Garland ISD event center, was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which has been classified as an anti-Muslim group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Bruce Joiner, the security officer, was shot in the ankle and has been released from the hospital. One gunman's identity has been confirmed by the FBI to ABC News. His name is Elton Simpson, he's from Arizona, and he was previously the subject of an FBI terror investigation. The second shooter has yet to be identified, but the FBI says he was Simpson's roommate.

Joe Harn, a spokesman for the Garland Police Department, said that $10,000 had been spent of extra security for the event. The department had planned for security at the event for months, Harn said, and was able to react quickly when the suspects began shooting and keep them from getting inside the event center.

In 2010, Smith was accused by federal prosecutors of planning to go to Somalia "for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad," and lying to an FBI agent. He was convicted on the lying to a federal official charge and was sentenced to three years probation.

Police feared that the suspects' car might contain explosives, so they detonated it, according to reporters at the scene. Harn said that there were no bombs found in the car. The suspects bodies, as of 9:30 Monday morning, had not yet been removed and remained near the car.

Harn's only statement as to the potential motive of the suspects Monday morning was that "they were there to shoot people." He could not say whether the shooting was a terrorist attack, but Harn said Garland Police and the FBI were looking into the possibility.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young