Late Thursday night, a 58-year-old man entered the Grand Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana during a showing of Trainwreck. The gunman killed two before killing himself. Nine people were sent to the hospital suffering a variety of injuries. Investigators described the gunman as white and middle-aged and later identified the gunman as John Russell Houser. The man did have a criminal record, but authorities said it was pretty old. The victims range from late teens to their 60s.
After firing a half-dozen rounds, the gunman tried to leave with the crowd fleeing the theater, Craft said. But investigators believe that he spotted two officers in the parking lot, turned around and went back into the theater. He then fired a single shot, and officers found him dead inside. Police said they found a suspicious package inside a vehicle that was believed to belong to the alleged gunman. A backpack and other items were inside, said Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police superintendent.
Law enforcement descended upon a local Motel 6, where they believed the gunman was staying. Authorities were seen carrying out a cardboard box from the room as well as speaking to neighbors.
Police found wigs, glasses and disguises in the gunman’s room. Moviegoers said there was no warning before the gunman started firing. “We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker,” Katie Domingue of Carencro said. She was at the 7 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck” with her fiance, Joshua Doggett, in Theater No. 14. About 20 minutes into the movie, Domingue said, she heard a loud noise.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke to the media at the scene praising the first responders. “I want to praise the law enforcers who ran toward danger,” Jindal said. “This is a time for us to come together. What we can do now is pray. We can hug these families, shower them with love, thoughts and prayers.” “This is an awful night for Lafayette, an awful night for Louisiana, an awful night for the United States,” a somber Jindal said.
The shooting occurred seven days after the conviction of James Holmes in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 people wounded. Security measures were stepped up at some cinemas after the Aurora shooting. Still, theaters across the United States fundamentally remain freewheeling places, where ticket holders can wander in and out, unbothered by the intense security measures that now typify airports and public buildings. Ticket sales also didn’t slump.