A 58-year-old white male opened fire in a movie theatre Thursday night in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing at least two and injuring nine before turning the gun on himself, police officials said.
Lafayette police chief Jim Craft told reporters that three people were killed in the shooting, including the gunman, who apparently killed himself as the police arrived on the scene. At least nine people were injured and taken to three area hospitals, Craft and other officials said.
Lafayette resident Katie Domingue told The Daily Advertiser that 20 minutes into the 7 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck,” she heard “a loud pop” and saw an “older white man” shooting, though not in her direction.
“He wasn’t saying anything,” Domingue said. “I didn’t hear anybody screaming either.”
The Lafayette police received a 911 call about 7:30 p.m. local time, reporting an active shooter at The Grand Theatre on Johnston Street. The police were in the area and on the scene in under a minute. Four officers entered the theatre and found that the gunman had apparently killed himself after discharging his weapon multiple times.
The police have identified the shooter but were not releasing his name as the investigation continues.
Lafayette police officers were deployed to other theatres in the city and closed a second Grand Theatre location as a precaution.
“We don’t know if this was just a random act or whether it was a domestic situation,” Craft said. “We really don’t have that information and are not far enough along to be able to determine that.”
One theatergoer, Jalen Fernell, told CNN he was in a nearby theatre when he heard the gunshots. He thought they were part of the movie.
“Immediately we get terrified because they are telling us to head out to vehicles,” he told CNN. “It was kinda like a war going on … gunshots after gunshots.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana was on the scene Thursday night to commend local and state police officers on their efforts in handling the shooting.
“I want to praise the first responders … They ran towards the shots fired, they ran towards the danger, not away,” Jindal said. “This is a time for us to come together. What we can do now is pray … Lafayette is a strong community. This is an awful night for Lafayette, an awful night for Louisiana, and an awful night for America.”
President Barack Obama was briefed on the details of the shooting on Air Force One late Thursday night en route to a two-nation visit to Africa, the White House said.
“While travelling aboard AF1 on Thursday night, the president received a briefing from Lisa Monaco, his homeland-security adviser, on the mass shooting at a movie theatre in Louisiana,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
“The president directed his team to keep him updated on the investigation and on the status of those injured in the shooting. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the White House, including the president and first lady, are with the community of Lafayette, Louisiana, especially the families of those who were killed.”
The shooting took place just a week after James Holmes was convicted of first-degree murder in a shooting spree three years ago that left 12 dead and 70 injured during a showing of a “Batman” film. A jury will now consider whether to sentence Holmes to death.
Lafayette is a city of around 120,000 people located about 60 miles southwest of the state capital of Baton Rouge.
Here’s a look at where the Grand Theatre is in relation to greater Lafayette.
This post is developing and will be updated with new details as we learn them.
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