More details are beginning to emerge about the incompetent Islamic terrorist attack on a free speech event held by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) in Garland, Texas Sunday. Bearing Arms readers have asked for more details about how the actual shooting went down, and about the Garland police officer who used his duty sidearm to defeat two attackers armed with rifles within 15 seconds.
Please keep in mind that we don’t have all the details about the attack, the individual officer’s response, or the exact steps law enforcement took once the attack began, and that even if we had that information, we would withhold such details which may be useful for any other would-be terrorists attempting future attacks.
That said, we will provide analysis of some key pieces of publicly available information.
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At the point of the attack, the two suspects apparently drove up and opened fire upon an unarmed security guard who was accompanied by a 60-year-old Garland police officer. The unarmed guard was struck the volley of gunfire. The veteran Garland officer then drew his duty-issue Glock pistol and opened fire on the suspects.
The officer killed one terrorist and wounded the other in his initial volley of return fire. Witnesses claim there was a brief pause, and then the officer fire two more shots to kill the still-moving terrorist as he appears to be reaching for a backpack. The entire event lasted 15 seconds, with heavily-armed Garland SWAT converging on the scene immediately afterward.
We’re not going to mention any more about the officer who took out these terrorists, only that to give an idea of his approximate position in relation to the terrorists as he engaged them.
The evidence markers at the bottom of the photo above show us a remarkable story, as they denote the final locations of the shell casings ejected from the officer’s Glock duty pistol. While every pistol is different from another in its ejection pattern, and the movement of the officer and the cant of his gun precludes us from knowing exactly where he was, there, is a distinct trial of shells showing that the officer was moving forward from the bottom left of the photo above towards the terrorists at the rear of the vehicle. He appears to have opened fire from 20 yards away, and fired at least a dozen shots by the time he reached an area near the traffic cones, roughly 7-10 yards from where the terrorists died.
Second photo taken from the opposite angle (below) seems to confirm this determined officer’s advance on the terrorists while firing.
Note: the damage to the vehicle driven by the terrorists was from controlled demolitions from EOD units ensuring that the car was not a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device).
There seems to be a great deal of skepticism regarding whether or not the suspects were wearing body armor and whether they were armed with “automatic weapons” or “assault rifles” or something else entirely. Other photos from the crime scene suggest answers to those questions as well.
In the image above, we have drawn an orange rectangle around what appears to be blood-drenched halves of a soft body armor carrier worn by one of the terrorists. Most people don’t seem to grasp that there are multiple grades of soft body armor, that these materials degrade over time, and that the armor panels themselves do not often cover the entire torso, leaving gaps under the arms, below the ribs, and at the neck.
We simply don’t know if the officer’s bullets compromised the armor or went around the armor panels, but it is quite clear that there was soft body armor worn by at least one of the terrorists, and that it did not prevent him from being quickly taken out of of the fight.
5/6 Update: A higher resolution image of the soft body armor worn by one of the terrorists seem to confirm that he was shot through the low-quality body armor that he was wearing.
If you look closely at the bottom half of the soft body armor you can see what appears to be a hole in the armor (circled), and blood appears to flow from that pass-through point.
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Did the terrorists have “automatic weapons” as some mainstream media outlets initially claimed?
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The media claim of “automatic weapons” or “machine guns” is always to be discounted until positively affirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt by firearms experts (not law enforcement public information officers), simply based on how difficult it is to obtain automatic weapons in the United States.
What we do have is two separate images that appear to show long guns recovered at the scene. We’ve taken part of the image above and flipped it vertically below in an effort to better determine what we’re looking at.
It isn’t anything we immediately recognize, though we can say for certain that it doesn’t appear to be any centerfire variant or an AR-15 or AKM.
While the photo we have to work with is frankly horrible, our best guess is that The firearm we’re looking at is a most likely Kel-Tec SUB-2000, a popular and inexpensive pistol caliber carbine shown below. Partially obscured behind evidence marker 34 is what appears to be a firearm with an AR-15-type front sight post, but the quality of the image and amount of the gun covered by the evidence marker make it impossible to tell what we’re really looking at.
5/6 Update: Thanks to photos submitted from several Bearing Arms readers now have a much higher resolution photo from a better angle not blocked by evidence marker 34.
The distinctive brake, scalloping on the stock, and curve of the magazine to the right (our right) of fallen evidence marker 35 prove that we’re looking at one of the more popular Soviet-era modern sporting rifles, based on the AK-74.
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No matter how you break down the details, this was an incredible display of bravery and marksmanship by this 30+ year veteran of the Garland Police Department, who not only resisted the natural urge to create distance between yourself and rifle-armed assailants, but who appears to have done precisely the opposite, and who advanced while firing accurately, bringing the attack to a swift conclusion without a single additional casualty once he brought his weapon to bear.
Determined people with good training and a decent handgun can indeed defeat the most zealous fanatic.
Get out there and train folks. Maybe one day it will be your turn to be the one standing on the line defending liberty from savagery.
Update: We’d like to thank Kaitian for finding a higher resolution image of the SUB-2000 used in the attack, which we’ve swapped out in the story above.
— Kaitian (@Kaitian1) May 5, 2015