Garland police say FBI's warning wasn't specific about a threat

The Garland police chief said the information the FBI sent to his office before last week's terrorist attack would not have changed his department's response to the event.

Chief Mitch Bates said the information was not specific and in no way indicated Elton Simpson had Garland's Curtis Cullwell Event Center in sight eight days ago.

The event featured a cartoon contest mocking the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Two Arizona men drove there and began shooting outside the building. They were killed by a Garland traffic officer who returned fire.

Bates described the shootout between the suspect and that officer. He said four SWAT team members also responded and opened fire. But he said the names of those officers won't be released because they've received death threats.

"Due to direct and indirect threats for their safety and the safety of their families, we will continue to protect their identities for an undetermined amount of time. The Garland Police Department, the FBI, Texas DPS and other agencies are continuing to monitor and investigate any potential threats posted to social media and other means," Bates said.

He told FOX 4's Shaun Rabb that so far all of the threats have been made across social media platforms. There have been no direct threatening phone calls to the police department.

The chief also clarified there was no information that Elton Simpson was heading to Garland before the event.

He said the FBI sent a general bulletin that didn't list Simpson as a potential threat. Another alert that included Simpson in a list of people who might have high interest in the contest arrived on Sunday, but no one saw it until after the attack.

Even if the department had known about Simpson's plans, Bates doesn't think it would have changed much.

Typically two to four officers work security for events at the center. There were more than 40 police officers, school security officers and agents from the FBI and ATF on scene for this event.

Bates believes the security plan was successful.