The heavily armed gunmen who attacked a cartoon contest near Dallas on Sunday probably were inspired by the Islamic State but there is no evidence so far the assailants were directed by the group, the Washington Post reports. Law enforcement officials are still analyzing the shooters' electronic devices, including phones and computers, to determine whether others may have been involved in the plot or encouraged it. Elton Simpson, 30, a Muslim convert, and his roommate, Nadir Soofi, 34, are not known to have had formal ties to the Islamic State, but the group's propaganda could have fueled their decision to attack the gathering in Garland, Tx.
In online postings, the group's followers had drawn attention to the cartoon contest, intended to ridicule the Islamic prophet Muhammad. On Tuesday, a Syria-based radio station operated by the Islamic State asserted responsibility for the attack. The FBI has charged several suspects with attempting to stage attacks in the U.S. in the name of the Islamic State. In March, officials arrested two men in Illinois, one of whom has been accused of plotting to attack a military installation to kill scores of people. The FBI charged two women in New York with conspiring to build explosive devices to detonate in the U.S. Simpson and Soofi traveled 1,000 miles from Phoenix to Garland in time for the Sunday event, called the Muhammad Art Exhibit, which promised a $10,000 prize for the best cartoon depicting the founder of Islam. Both were killed after wounding a security guard outside the arena where the event was being held.