PHOENIX – An FBI informant who tape recorded hours of conversations with one of the suspects involved in the Garland, Texas shooting is breaking his silence months after the incident in an exclusive interview with ABC15.
In May, agents said Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi left Phoenix and headed to Garland armed with guns. Investigators said they opened fire on the convention center where the contest was being held. Both men were killed.
Dalba Deng, a paid FBI informant involved in a 2010 case against Simpson, said he spent four years working undercover helping the FBI build a case prior to the attack in May.
The FBI was aware of the Garland terrorist for four years prior to that 2015 attack and didn’t stop him.
Agents asked him to pose as someone who wanted to know more about Islam.
Deng befriended Simpson, but admitted he felt uneasy about it.
“I was kind of a little nervous.”
Deng said the reason he became involved was to save lives.
“I did it from my heart,” he said. “I was trying to help because they were trying to kill some people.”
Using hundreds of hours of conversations recorded by Deng, the feds built a case.
“He (Simpson) said he was going to kill people,” Deng said. “No matter what, he wanted to kill people.”
In the end, there was not enough evidence to convict Simpson of being involved in international terrorism, but Deng said he wasn’t surprised when he found out that Simpson was one of the shooters at the cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas.
“That’s what he was trying to do,” he said.
Weeks later, the FBI arrested another Phoenix man linked to Simpson for his alleged role in the attack. Deng said that arrest won’t be the last.
When asked if he thought there were more people in Simpson’s group that the community should be worried about, Deng simply answered, “Yes.”
“There is more than that. We are talking about like 50, maybe like 80 people.”
Sources said the FBI has at least seven people on their radar connected to Simpson, but the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are not confirming or denying that information because it is an ongoing investigation.