Three People Dead, Including Shooter, Seven Injured At Grand 16 Theatre Shooting
UPDATE: 7:17 a.m.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft says the shooter has been identified as 59-year-old John Russell Houser from Alabama. Craft describes him as a drifter who was staying at a motel here in Lafayette. Houser wasn't working or associated with anyone.
Chief Craft says Houser was planning to escape last night before law enforcement showed up to the scene. 13 rounds were fired and the weapon Houser used has been recovered. No devices were found in his vehicle.
"His criminal past is very aged," says Chief Craft.
Chief Craft identifies the two deceased victims as 21-year-old Mayci Breaux from Franklin, who died on scene, and 33-year-old Jillian Johnson from Lafayette, who died at the hospital.
Of the nine people who were wounded, two victims have been released while one is in critical condition.
Chief Craft says the presence of law enforcement prevented more deaths. 12 ambulances were there in 6 minutes last night.
Law enforcement officials are still working inside the theater, which is shut down. There were no threats made at any other theater in Lafayette.
If you have any information about Houser, you're asked to call the Lafayette Police Department's 24-hour number at 337-291-8650.
A Press conference was held at approximately11:25 with Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft; Lafayette City-Parish Government Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley; and Superintendent of Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson.
Stanley asked local motorists to avoid the Johnston Street corridor near the theater on their daily commutes Friday.
"It is a major crime scene," Stanley said. "It is a large crime scene along a state highway. Respect the authorities."
Col. Mike Edmonson said K-9 Units alerted to a suspicious package in the suspect's vehicle, indicating there may be explosives on the scene. Edmonson said there are still bodies inside the theater, including the body of the shooter.
Craft said one victim has been released from the hospital, but another is in surgery and "is not doing well." Victims ages range from the late teens to the late 60s. Craft was told there were more than 100 individuals to be interviewed by law enforcement officials once the area was stabilized.
Craft said the suspect, who reportedly worked alone, did have a criminal history.
"Why would a guy come into a theater and randomly start shooting people?" Craft asked about the shooters motives. "He is deceased. So, we may never know."
UPDATE: 11:00 p.m.
FBI, Louisiana State Police, Lafayette Police Department, Lafayette Fire Department Acadian Ambulance and Haz-Mat are on the scene investigating the shooting.
A riveting story came from Gov. Bobby Jindal who was interviewed from Lafayette General Medical Center. He said one of the injured victims is a teacher who protected one of her friends, who is also a teacher, by jumping between her and the shooter. The benevolent educator was wounded by a bullet and still maintained composure enough to pull the fire alarm.
UPDATE: 10:35 p.m.
Ambulances, Haz-Mat vehicles and fire trucks are again rushing to the scene.
Witnesses told KPEL emergency personnel rushed to side and rear exit doors at the Grand 16 at approximately 10:25 p.m.
Officials have identified the shooter's vehicle that remains parked in the lot in front of the theater. The vehicle is being searched for in case any explosives were installed on the vehicle.
Police are currently conducting a background check on the shooter, who is said to be a 58-year-old white male.
Police confirmed the shooter used a handgun and began shooting randomly inside one of the 16 theaters. No one outside of the particular theater, showing "Trainwreck," was harmed.
UPDATE 9:45 p.m.
Police confirmed that two people are dead, one being the shooter, and six people were injured in the shooting at the Grand 16 shooting.
Police said an older white male opened fire within the theater about 20 minutes into a showing of the movie "Trainwreck". Then, he shot himself.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft told the media the shooter was a male in his 50s. He said the suspect began discharging his weapon numerous times during the film. Shortly after, the shooter turned the gun on himself.
Craft reported two fatalities and seven injured. The surviving victims who have been transported to local hospitals have sustained injuries that range from non-life threatening to critical injuries.
Three victims were taken to Lafayette General Hospital, two others to Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and two others to Lafayette Regional Medical Center for treatment following the shooting.
Lt. Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police, said there is no reason to believe that the shooter acted beyond the Grand 16 theater, but Craft reported law enforcement officials have been sent to the Grand 14 movie theater on Kaliste Saloom that has been closed "out of an abundance of caution."
Gov. Bobby Jindal addressed the situation by thanking first responders and emergency personnel who acted swiftly with "this random act of violence."
"These senseless acts of violence makes you sad and furious at the same time," Jindal said."This is a time for us to come together. What we can do now is pray. Families are mourning the loss of loved ones."
Multiple injuries and deaths are being reported following a shooting at the Grand 16 Theater that occurred at approximately 8 p.m. this evening.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said he will give an update on the situation within the next 45 minutes.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are on the scene sweeping the theater and its surrounding buildings because of reports of explosives may have been planted on the premises.
Police sources told KPEL there are an unconfirmed two people dead. Also, there were at least four individuals taken from the scene on stretchers. A total of eight people were taken to three different hospitals in Lafayette.
Louisiana State Police confirmed there was an active shooter at The Grand. The Lafayette Police Department is reporting that the shooter is dead.
Dozens of law enforcement officials are at the scene, some being heavily armed. Emergency personnel and have inundated the area near the Grand 16 Theater on Johnston Street and Doucet Road. The influx of emergency vehicles has caused law enforcement to redirect traffic from the area. Drivers are not allowed to travel down Doucet Road in either direction.
There is also report of a traffic crash in the area that is also causing traffic issues. Motorists are asked to avoid the area completely.