Lafayette Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting

Lafayette Louisiana movie theater shootingLafayette is a city located along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana. The city of Lafayette is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population of 120,623 at the 2010 census. The combined statistical area of Lafayette–Opelousas-Morgan City was 611,774 according to 2012 estimates. Lafayette is the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Its nickname is The Hub City.

Three people died and seven were wounded after a man opened fire in a movie theater here on Thursday night, officials said. The gunman was among the dead. The shooting took place shortly before 7:30 p.m. 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.

Chief Craft said three people were killed, including the gunman, and the wounded had been taken to nearby hospitals. The conditions of the wounded, he said, “range from non life-threatening to critical.” The victims ranged from teenagers to people in their 60s, the chief said. One victim was in surgery, he said, and “was not doing well.” 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 he said it was too soon to know his motive.

The chief said the police had determined the identity of the gunman and found that he had a criminal history, “but it looks like it’s pretty old.” Sgt. Brooks David of the Louisiana State Police said the gunman was a 58-year-old “lone white male.” The investigation inside the theater was briefly halted late Thursday night when the police found the gunman’s vehicle and found what they said was a “suspicious package” inside. A bomb squad was called, and early on Friday, the vehicle’s windows and trunk were blown up. The car was to be towed from the lot.

Sergeant Brooks said a suspicious backpack and other small items found in the theater were being examined. A robot was brought in for use in the investigation. Sergeant Brooks said the dead would not be removed from the theater until it was determined that it was safe for investigators and the coroner to enter. An apartment complex behind the theater was evacuated as a precaution, the police said. Tanya Clark, 36, who was at the theater to see another movie, was at the concession stand with her three children when she saw people run screaming through the lobby. “I thought it was just a joke,” said her son, Robert Martinez, 17. “People were screaming.”

He 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.”
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