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One of the suspects killed outside of a cartoon exhibit for the Prophet Muhammad yesterday has been identified, officials say.
An FBI official told ABC News that one of the men has been identified as Arizona native Elton Simpson. Simpson and another man reportedly fired shots outside of a Garland, Texas community center which played host to a display of illustrations depicting the Prophet Muhammad. A security guard was injured during the exchange of gunfire, but other authorities managed to shoot and kill Simpson and his accomplice.
According to ABC News, Simpson had been on federal authorities' monitor for years:
Simpson was well known to the FBI. Five years ago he was convicted for lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Africa where investigators alleged he planned to join a terror group.
The investigation into Simpson reached back to July 2007, when he was recorded saying of fighting with Islamists, I know we can do it, man. But you got to find the right people that… Gotta have connects.
Furthermore, the FBI is under the belief that Simpson issued pre-attack tweets yesterday. Agents also told ABC News that their investigation had unearthed additional details about Simpson and the other gunman:
John Iannarelli, Assistant Special Agent in Charge FBI’s Phoenix office, said authorities in Texas traced both suspects to the Phoenix apartment and that the two appear to have been roommates. The second suspect has not been publicly identified.
[via ABC News]