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Texas Gunman Tweeted With Extremists Before Attack On Muhammad Drawing Contest

Elton Simpson used the hashtag #texasattack shortly before he and Nadir Soofi opened fire on police outside the event in Garland.

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Federal authorities confirmed Wednesday that Elton Simpson, one of the two shooters in the Garland, Texas, attack outside a contest to draw the Prophet Muhammad, took to social media moments before the shooting, the Associated Press reported.

Speaking with the AP after having been briefed on the federal investigation, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that Simpson tweeted the hashtag #texasattack some 20 minutes before he opened fire on officers outside the event.

McCaul also said that Simpson's account included images of American al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and that his final tweet had said: "May Allah accept us as mujahideen," or warriors of jihad.

The account @atawaakul matches McCaul's description. It has since been suspended. Here's the tweet he sent before he and Nadir Soofi got out of a black sedan holding guns and opened fire on the officers:


Nicolas Medina Mora and Claudia Koerner contributed reporting.

Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 6055 A264 DADD AADC 347E 5986 547C C11C DD7D 176A.

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