One of the suspects in the shooting in Garland, Texas late Sunday has been identified as Elton Simpson, an Arizona man who was previously the subject of a terror investigation, according to a senior FBI official.
Overnight and today FBI agents and a bomb squad were at Simpson’s home in an apartment complex in north Phoenix where a robot is believed to be conducting an initial search of the apartment.
Officials believe Simpson is the person who sent out several Twitter messages prior to the attack on Sunday, in the last one using the hashtag #TexasAttack about half an hour before the shooting.
Local police said two suspects opened fire late Sunday outside a community center in Garland, Texas that was hosting an event displaying cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. One unarmed security guard was injured, but other security officers managed to fatally shoot both attackers before anyone else was hurt or killed.
Followers of ISIS had been sending messages about the event in Texas for more than a week, calling for attacks. One referenced January’s Charlie Hebdo massacre in France and said it was time for “brothers” in the U.S. to do their part.
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, but a judge ruled the government did not adequately prove he was going to join a terror group there.
Indeed, he was well known.
In May 2005, the FBI engaged an informant, Mr. Daba Deng, who was from Kenya and who knew Mr. Simpson from the mosque he attended. In the fall of 2006, Mr. Deng was asked by the FBI to become friends with Mr. Simpson and get to know him better by presenting himself as an individual who was new to Islam and who sought to learn more from Mr. Simpson. Mr. Deng began to meet with Mr. Simpson three to four times per week and recorded their conversations. Mr. Deng was paid for his work as an informant.
During the trial, the Government played some of the taped conversations between the informant, Dabla Deng, and the Defendant. One of these recordings was from July 31, 2007, more than two years before his indictment. In that recording, Mr. Simpson told Mr. Deng that Allah loves an individual who is “out there fighting [non-Muslims]” and making difficult sacrifices such as living in caves, sleeping on rocks rather than sleeping in comfortable beds and with his wife, children and nice cars. Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away.” Mr. Simpson then said “[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”
We wonder how he’s enjoying it now. Meanwhile, let’s go to the scorecard:
First Amendment 1 Second Amendment 1 Jihad 0
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 4, 2015
Here’s one of the winning entries:
— Steven Kutz (@sjkz) May 4, 2015