In Garland, Texas, on 3 May 2015, Gregory Stevens, a veteran police officer with the Garland Police Department, was working off-duty as armed security for the “Draw the Prophet” cartoon contest event.
Pamela Geller organized the Draw the Prophet event as a response to Islamic demands that Western Civilization submit to Islamic censorship.
The particular demand was no one would be allowed to draw images of the Prophet Mohamed, mock him, or make fun of him.
The infamous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris had occurred just five months earlier, by two Islamists with AK-47 type rifles and Tokarev pistols.
Many will remember the Draw Mohamed event, in the Dallas suburb of Garland, which was attacked by two Isis recruits.
Few know the details of how one prepared gunfighter police officer faced two Islamic riflemen armed with semi-automatic rifles, handguns, plenty of ammunition, soft body armor, and the element of surprise. He fought them at close range and prevailed.
Gregory Stevens was that officer. For his safety and security, and, possibly, to shield the FBI from exposure, the details of the attack and his defensive actions were hidden for more than a year.
Many of the details have been revealed, Officer Stevens explained the events of that day in a video presentation which has been viewed by less than a thousand people on Youtube. It deserves a much wider audience. The video is an hour and eight minutes long.
Officer Stevens was working extra hours as armed, uniformed security for the event. He would turn 60 in a few days. He had long experience as a traffic officer. He was a gun guy, who preferred a 1911 .45 Auto.
As a concession to modern pistol design, he had been issued a Glock model 21, chambered in .45 Auto. He was carrying his Glock in his standard duty rig, with a 13 round magazine, a round chambered, and two spare magazines, for a total of 40 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 230 grain hollowpoints.
As with many accomplished people in the gun culture, Gregory Stevens downplays his skills. He says:
“I am a good shooter and I practice, but I am not a crack shot that can shoot quarters out of the air.”
“I try to keep my skills at a very high level.”
One of the audience members quipped: “We’re glad you practiced!”
“I am too,” answered Greg Stevens.
As the attack unfolded, those skills would become critical.
At the scene with Greg Stevens is Bruce Joiner, an unarmed security guard from Garland Independent School District (ISD). They are in charge of the back entrance to the event, the West entrance coming off of Naaman Forest Blvd, the entrance the VIPs, caterers, and security teams use.
To those scouting for an attack, it appears to be a weak point. There are only two guards. Only one of them is armed. The armed guard (Officer Stevens) only has one pistol and is older than average.
There had been numerous death threats issued about the event. A competent security plan had been created. Greg says he was put at the back entrance because it was viewed as the “easy job.” He joked the idea was to “give the old guy the easy job.” He had a list of the people authorized to use the entrance, and codes they were required to know to use it. It was a short list.
Pam Geller and Gert Wilder had been passed through. A snafu with a caterer had been cleared up. Gert Wilder and his security team had left.
Just before 7 p.m., Greg went to the restroom. A pair of roving armed security took his place. He took his duty car. He returned to his post. The roving team left.
About five minutes after he returned, a small black car pulls up, and stops, abruptly, facing away from the entrance.
Greg’s hair starts standing up on the back of his neck. His “police sense” starts going off. Something is not “right.” The car has out-of-state plates, from Arizona. Immediately, both doors to the car open at the same time.
As the passenger exits, Greg sees the muzzle of a rifle moving in a sweeping motion. Elton Simpson, the passenger, has an AK-47 semi-automatic clone and brings it into play. As Greg sees the rifle moving, the synapses click, the trained and practiced instincts kick in.
This is real. He needs to engage. Now!
The attackers are 35 feet away.
There is no cover.
Gregory Stevens draws his Glock 21 .45 from his retention holster. Elton Simpson brings up the AK clone. The shots exchanged are so close as to be simultaneous. Greg cannot determine who shot first. All three combatants are wearing soft body armor.
Simpson misses. One of the 230 grain Gold Dot hollowpoints Greg is launching from the Glock, probably the first, smashes Simpson’s femur. More rounds follow as Simpson falls. He goes down, dropping the rifle.
The driver, Nadir Soofi, is firing at Greg with a semi-automatic rifle. The rifle is equipped with a 100-round magazine. The rifle was either a detachable magazine-fed SKS or an AK clone. (The terrorists had three rifles with them.) Greg shifts his aim to Soofi. He fires several rounds from his Glock. Soofi goes down, dropping the rifle.
During the firing, Greg has taken a step or two closer, utilizing a flash sight picture, and advancing on the terrorists.
Greg directs his attention back to Simpson. Simpson is still moving, still a threat. Greg fires more rounds. Simpson goes down again. Greg directs his attention back to Soofi, who is attempting to get up. Greg fires the last of the rounds in the Glock. Soofi goes down, hard. Greg does a tactical reload, very fast.
Greg has fired 14 rounds of 230 grain Speer Gold Dot ammunition from his Glock. Simpson and Sufi have fired about 35 rounds of 7.62 × 39. Those rounds were easily capable of penetrating Greg Stevens’ soft body armor.
The entire action took 10 seconds or less.
Bruce Joiner, the unarmed security guard, thought the car was stopping to ask questions. When he saw Greg draw, he thought “Oh my God. He is going to kill those people!” He was correct.
One of the bullets from Simpson’s and Sufi’s rifles struck Joiner in the fleshy part of the ankle. He was taken to the hospital and released the same evening.
None of the bullets from the rifles hit Greg Stevens.
Greg says it is good to be fast, but better to have an angel sitting on your shoulder.
Most of Greg’s shots hit their targets, showing the value of the flash sight picture.
As Greg starts to approach the vehicle with his reloaded Glock, the reinforcements show up. They yell at him to stay away from the vehicle. Greg is in the zone, focused on the threat. The reinforcements get Greg’s attention, and he backs away from the vehicle, because of the potential of a car bomb or explosive vest.
The immediate threat has passed.
The Isis recruits had three rifles and three handguns, with 1,500 rounds of ammunition, but no explosives.
Greg wasn’t the only combatant who expected reinforcements.
As Greg engaged Simpson and Soofi, an undercover FBI agent was traveling with the terrorists in a separate vehicle, approaching the rear entrance where the gunfight happened. The agent and two terrorists had traveled from Arizona, in two vehicles. It was claimed the FBI agent took pictures of the attack, just as it started. It was claimed he participated in intelligence gathering, and in planning the attack, advising the terrorists to wait until the event was ending.
The FBI agent, only identified in the subsequent lawsuit as UCE-1, stopped, then attempted to flee the scene.
He had encouraged the terrorists. He had taken a picture of the terrorists and had informed Simpson and Soofi he was armed.
He was stopped by Garland Police in a felony stop, at gunpoint. UCE-1 shouted he was FBI. After confirming his FBI status, he was released by the Garland Police. His involvement in the attack would not be determined until discovery was done in the lawsuit. FBI Director Comey had denied there was any FBI complicity in the attack.
An informational bulletin containing a list of suspected extremists, with a photograph of Simpson, and a possible vehicle license plate, had been sent to Garland Police by the FBI, at about 4 p.m. on 3 May. It had not reached Officer Stevens before the attack had started.
It was not a direct warning of the attack.
The court ruled the FBI was acting within its allowed discretion.
The lawsuit was dismissed.
Officer Greg Stevens was secretly presented with his department’s medal of honor. The previous one had been presented before Greg was born. Only three officers have been presented with the honor. He later received the Texas Department of Public Safety’s “Director’s Award,” the highest award the department can give.
President Obama presented Officer Stevens with the Law Enforcement Congressional Medal of Valor in May of 2016.
Source: Dean Weingarten, Gun Watch