FBI came close to uncovering 'Draw Mohammed' attack

FBI came close to uncovering 'Draw Mohammed' attack

The FBI came close to uncovering the 2015 plot to attack participants in a contest to draw pictures of the Prophet Muhammad in Garland, Texas, court documents unsealed Thursday reveal.

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An undercover FBI agent was present at the event and exchanged a series of text messages with an associate of one of the perpetrators just moments before the attack, according to an FBI affidavit.

The associate, Erick Jamal Hendricks, had also previously put the agent in touch with one of the shooters, Elton Simpson, who mentioned the cartoon-drawing contest to the agent.

Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi were allegedly inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to attack the "First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest," which encouraged artists to draw depictions of the prophet — an act considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

The two died in the attack.

On the night of the attack, Hendricks probed the agent on a series of questions related to the security of the event.

“How big is the gathering?” “How many ppl?” “How many police/agents?” “Do you see feds there?’ “Do you see snipers?” and “How many media?” he asked the agent.

He also encouraged the agent to attack the organizer of the contest. “If you see that pig, make your ‘voice’ heard against her,” he messaged, according to an FBI affidavit.

Hendricks had been communicating with the agent over an undisclosed social media network. The agent was posing as an ISIS sympathizer interested in recruiting other followers.

In late April, Hendricks connected the agent with “a good brother”: Simpson.

The agent contacted Simpson, who made references to the upcoming “drawing” contest in Garland.

“Did u see the link I posted? About texas? Prob not,” Simpson said, then linked the agent to event.

Just days after, Simpson and Soofi pulled up at the event with assault-style weapons and body armor. They opened fire, wounding a security guard before Garland police shot and killed both men.

Afterwards, Hendricks expressed sorrow over the death of Simpson and Soofi to the agent, who claimed “Cops almost shot me.”

“I know that will always be a concern you will have,” Hendricks consoled the agent. “But listen bro, AL LA h showed you that in order to prepare you. Next time you will be twice as better.”

Hendricks was arrested Thursday on terrorism charges, after another ISIS sympathizer that he recruited was arrested attempting to purchase an assault rifle and ammunition from an undercover law enforcement officer.

Hendricks had told that individual that he “needed people” and that he wanted to “get brothers to train together,” according to the filing.

If convicted, Hendricks faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.