3 Fatally Shot, 7 Injured at Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Three people were killed and seven were injured when a man opened fire inside a movie theater in a Lafayette, Louisiana, multiplex, officials said. The gunman was among the dead.
The shooting took place shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Thursday during a showing of the comedy “Trainwreck” at the Grand Theater in Lafayette, a 16-screen multiplex on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city.
Chief Jim Craft of the Lafayette Police Department said that police officers entered the theater complex while the shooting was going on. When they got inside the theater, they found the gunman dead of a self-inflicted wound, The NewYork Times reported.
Chief Craft said three people were killed, including the gunman, and the injured had been transported to nearby hospitals. The conditions of the wounded, he said, “range from non life-threatening to critical.”
Chief Craft, who described the crime scene as “pretty chaotic,” said a handgun was used in the attack. He did not release the name of the gunman, and said it was too soon to know his motive.
Bystanders near the Grand Theater. Credit Denny Culbert/Associated Press
Sgt. Brooks David of the Louisiana State Police said the gunman was a 58-year-old “lone white male.”
Tanya Clark, 36, went to the Grand Theater to celebrate her birthday with a viewing of “Magic Mike XXL.” She was at the concession stand ordering slushies with her three children when she saw people run screaming through the theater lobby.
“I thought it was just a joke,” said her son, Robert Martinez, 17. “People were screaming.”
Mr. Martinez said that a woman in her 60s ran past them shouting that she had been shot in the leg. He saw blood pouring down her leg, he said.
Ms. Clark said she grabbed her 5-year-old daughter and ran, leaving her purse and phone on the concession stand counter.
“I just grabbed her arm,” she said. “In that moment, you don’t think about anything. That’s when you realize that your wallet and phone are not important.”
Paige Bearb, a moviegoer who was in a theater next to the one where the shooting took place, said, “We could hear people screaming next door.”
An alarm soon sounded and she ran outside.
Law enforcement and other emergency personnel responded to the scene of the shooting. Credit Brad Kemp/The Advocate, via Associated Press
“As we were running for our car, I could see people with gunshot wounds and one lady bleeding from the leg with a T-shirt wrapped around it,” she said.
A spokesman for Acadian Ambulance, a service that responded to the shooting, said that two people were declared dead on the scene and eight more were taken to nearby hospitals.
At the request of the police, a spokesman for Lafayette General Health, which runs a number of hospitals in the region, declined to comment on Thursday night.
Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said there was no information to indicate any relationship between the gunman and any of the victims. He said that roughly 100 people were inside the auditorium at the time of the shooting.
Chief Craft said the Lafayette Police Department had increased security at other theaters in the city as a precaution.
Outside the Grand Theater in Lafayette, La., where a man fired on people at a screening of "Trainwreck." The gunman was one of the dead. Credit Lee Celano/Reuters
Gov. Bobby Jindal, who traveled to the shooting scene on Thursday night, described the shooting as “senseless.”
“When these kinds of acts of violence happen in a movie theater, when there’s no real good reason why this kind of evil should intrude on the lives of families who are just out for a night of entertainment, I know a lot of us are horrified and shocked,” Mr. Jindal said.
He added, “This is an awful night for Lafayette. This is an awful night for Louisiana. This is an awful night for the United States.”
Lafayette, an oil and gas hub, has about 125,000 people and is Louisiana’s fourth-largest city. It is located on Interstate 10 about two hours west of New Orleans and one hour west of Baton Rouge, the capital.