LAFAYETTE, La. — A gunman shot nine people inside of a movie theater Thursday night in Lafayette before turning the gun on himself. The lone gunman, described as a white man in his 50s, opened fire inside of a showing of Trainwreck at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street in Lafayette, killing two people and injuring several others.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the ages of the victims range from the late teens to the 60s.Police say the victims’ conditions range from non-life threatening to critical. About 100 people were in the theater when the shooting began. A witness told CNN that “it sounded like a war zone.” Col. Mike Edmonson said police have no reason to believe there is another shooter and that the scene is secure. Police out of an abundance of caution shut down the other Grand Theater in the city.
Craft said it’s not certain what kind of gun the shooter used, but he said it may have been a handgun.Gov. Bobby Jindal said he raced to the scene along with Louisiana State Police, and he lauded local law enforcement who “ran towards the shooting.”
“This is an awful night for Lafayette, an awful night for Louisiana, an awful night for the United States,” said Jindal.The governor also praised “heroes” of the night, including two teachers in attendance at the movies. Jindal said one of them jumped in front of the other for protection, while a second teacher, while shot in the leg, still managed to pull a fire alarm to save others.
.Jindal asked the public to have their thoughts and prayers with the victims in the shooting.”The best thing you can do right now is think of them and shower them with love,” he said. “We can pray. We can hug these families. We can shower them with love, thoughts and prayers.”The gunman’s car has been found, and police found a suspicious package inside. They plan to detonate it with the help of a robot in case there is anything dangerous inside.Craft said the gunman does have a criminal history, but nothing recent on his record.
EYEWITNESS REPORTS FROM THE ADVERTISER
Jalen Fernell, 20, of Lafayette, was in the Grand Theatre watching “South Paw” with friends when he heard gunshots.”They were very faint over the movie. I thought it was part of the movie,” Fernell said. “About five seconds later, sirens went off and I realized it wasn’t the movie.”
Someone came on the intercom and told moviegoers to evacuate, Fernell said. Nobody knew what was going on so they took off running, he said. Outside the theater building police were everywhere.”I saw a woman lying on the ground outside with blood everywhere. She was shot in the leg,” Fernell said.Everyone started running again, he said.
“We didn’t know what to do. You’re scared to walk through the parking lot, You don’t know if the guy’s in a car, hiding in the parking lot,” Fernell said.More police pulled up with assault rifles and went into the building, he said.”I heard gunshots like a war going on,” Fernell said.When the gunfire stopped, he heard from a police car radio that six people were down in Theater 14, he said.
More police pulled up, charging inside the building and more gunshots were fired. He heard the suspect was down; he had committed suicide, he said.In the theater where the shooting took place, Emily Mann, 21, was watching “Trainwreck” with a friend in the second row from the top of the theater when she heard popping noises and noticed flashes coming from a gun held by a man in the same row on the other side of the theater, her father, Randall Mann, vice president of marketing and public relations at Acadian Ambulance, said.Emily wasn’t up to speaking to the media Thursday night, he said.
Mann said Acadian Ambulance transported eight patients to area hospitals. The company responded with 10 ambulances and off-duty personnel who heard about the shooting showed up at the scene to help, he said.”We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker,” she said.Katie Domingue of Carencro was at the 7 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck” with her fiance’, Joshua Doggett. About 20 minutes into the movie, Domingue said, she heard a loud noise.