US Texas shooting Muhammad cartoon show
Police officers stand near a school bus used to evacuate attendees of the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative after a shooting outside the Curtis Culwell Center where the event was held in Garland, TexasMike Stone/Reuters

US police have shot dead two gunmen at a contest to draw Muhammad cartoons near Dallas, Texas, during a shootout. An unarmed security guard was also injured in the incident.

The men pulled up in a car and randomly opened fire outside the venue of the contest in a Dallas suburb.

The brief gunfight began as the event "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest" at the Culwell Event Centre in North Garland was coming to an end. The art show, organised by a group which is critical of Islam, was centred on showcasing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

The suspects are reported to have been carrying explosives.

A statement from the City of Garland read: "As today's Muhammad art exhibit event at the Curtis Culwell Center was coming to an end, two males drove up to the front of the building in a car. Both males were armed and began shooting at a Garland ISD security officer. Garland police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed."

"Police suspect the vehicle may contain an incendiary device and the bomb squad is on the scene. The surrounding businesses including Academy Sports, Walmart and Sam's are being evacuated. Event participants are also being evacuated from the Curtis Culwell Center for their safety."

Businesses near the facility have been evacuated following the incident. There were about 200 people, including Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, attending the show. According to the Associated Press, the New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative had announced a $10,000 award for the best cartoon portraying Muhammad.

On the eve of the attack, local Islamic groups had warned that the cartoon show would hurt their religious feelings, but the organisers were determined to go ahead arguing it is their freedom of expression.