The two gunmen shot dead outside a Texas art show were Islamic State (ISIS) sympathizers who wanted to kill Americans as part of their twisted radical beliefs, Rep. Ted Poe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, tells Newsmax TV.
"It's not surprising really. These two individuals came to Texas and wanted to kill in the name of their radical belief of Islam," Poe said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
"ISIS preaches that everybody should be tolerant of their belief in Islam, but they're never tolerant of someone who disagrees with them. They lash out in a violent way … and that's what happened in this situation in Texas."
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Roommates Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi of Phoenix were killed by a police officer after they began shooting with assault rifles in a parking lot outside an art show in Garland, Texas.
The event consisted of an exhibition of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as well as a drawing contest. Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are considered blasphemous and have sparked violence around the world.
ISIS has claimed credit for the attack, calling Simpson and Soofi "two soldiers of the caliphate," although authorities have not confirmed that boast.
"At this point, I believe they were inspired by ISIS and encouraged by ISIS and their beliefs. One of them had traveled overseas. We know that already," said Poe, a Texas Republican.
"He was even detained and arrested by the FBI and subsequently a judge let him go, but I don't know if they were soldiers or that ISIS thought they were soldiers.
"But they were certainly ISIS sympathizers and believed the way ISIS believes and were encouraged by their social media that's available to commit these crimes."
Poe also said the border the Lone Star State shares with Mexico is woefully unprotected.
"The southern border of the United States is wide open contrary to what the administration says," he said.
"We're getting everybody – the good, the bad and the ugly— and a lot of the people that come across, we don't know anything about them."
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