When two men opened fire at the “Draw Muhammad” contest in a Dallas suburb in 2015, the FBI had an undercover agent on the scene, newly filed court documents reveal.
On May 3, 2015, two men from Arizona armed with assault rifles — Elton Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi — attacked a convention center in Garland, Texas, where Pamela Geller had organized the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest.” The two attackers shot a guard outside the convention center and were then killed in the parking lot by Texas police.
Hours earlier, the FBI had sent a bulletin to local police with Simpson’s photo, warning that he was “interested in the event.” FBI Director James Comey said in a press conference following the shooting that the FBI did not have reason to believe Simpson was planning to attack the event, even though the bureau had spent years trying to build a case against him.
The new information came to light in an indictment filed Wednesday against Erick Jamal Hendricks, 35, of Charlotte, North Carolina, who allegedly recruited people online to join the Islamic State. An affidavit in the case reveals that an FBI undercover agent was at the “Draw Muhammad” event and was communicating with Hendricks about security there. The affidavit raises questions about whether the FBI knew, or should have known, that the event was a likely target of attack.