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2 gunmen killed at controversial art event in Texas

GARLAND, Tex. -- Two gunmen were shot and killed and a school security officer was wounded at a controversial event Sunday evening in Texas.

The shooting happened just after 7 p.m. outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Tex., police said. The conditions of the two victims were unclear. About 200 people were at the venue.

The event, billed as "Draw the Prophet" was an art exhibit of depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad organized by the New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative at the Curtis Culwell Center.

An officer dressed in SWAT gear took the stage toward the end of the event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland and told attendees, including an Associated Press reporter, that a shooting had occurred. He said one officer and two suspects were shot. The center was locked down with people inside.

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Police officers address attendees at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest after they are prevented from leaving when it was reported that shots were fired and a man is down in Garland, Texas May 3, 2015. REUTERS / Mike Stone

According to police, two unidentified men got out of a vehicle and started shooting at a Garland schools security officer outside the center, wounding him. Garland police officers shot back at the two men, killing them.

The guard, Bruce Joiner has non-life threatening injuries after being shot once in the leg. He's in stable condition at a local hospital, CBS Dallas reported.

The school officer was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover.

However, the vehicle the two men drove up in was being considered a hazardous device and a bomb squad was being called in to inspect it once the center was evacuated.

The AFDI, co-founded by controversial anti-Muslim activist Pamela Gellar, was hosting a contest that would award $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad at the venue, which is the same place she led a protest march outside a Muslim conference in January.

Depictions of Muhammad are considered highly offensive among Muslims and has drawn violent protest in other parts of the world.

Gellar herself tweeted on the incident shortly after it happened, but there is no confirmation yet that there were explosives.

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 other religions and used depictions of Muhammad.

Though it remained unclear several hours after the shooting whether it was related to event, she said Sunday night that the shooting showed how "needed our event really was."

Johnny Roby of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was attending the conference. He told The Associated Press he was outside the building when he heard around about 20 shots that appeared to be coming from the direction of a passing car.

Roby said he then heard two single shots. He said he heard officers yell that they had the car before he was sent inside the building.

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