Originally published on 24 July, 2015
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Three people were killed and nine injured on Thursday night after a man opened fire inside a movie theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The 59-year-old gunman was sitting alone inside Grand 16 Theatre at a screening of the movie Trainwreck. Twenty minutes into the movie, he stood up and opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun.
He first shot at two people who were sitting right in front of him. He then began shooting at other moviegoers.
“We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker,” Katie Domingue told the Louisiana Advertiser.
She said she saw “an older white man” standing up and shooting down into the theater, but not in her direction.
“He wasn’t saying anything. I didn’t hear anybody screaming either,” she said.
Two teachers were also inside the theatre. When they found themselves in front of the gunman, one of them threw herself between him and her colleague, taking a bullet to protect her. Her colleague was shot in the leg, but still managed to activate a fire alarm, Reuters reported.
Less than a minute later, two police officers arrived at the scene.
Before they entered the theatre, the gunman shot himself.
Bomb-sniffing dogs picked out a backpack inside the Grand 16 Theatre and signaled suspicious items inside the suspect’s car, but according to WWLTV 4, both the bag and the car were cleared by a machine. According to authorities, the scene is now secure.
Police identified the suspect as John Houser, a 59-year-old drifter who had moved to Lafayette recently from Alabama. Officials said the gunman had a “criminal history.”
The incident took place almost three years to the day after 12 people were killed in a mass shooting at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado.
More than 11,000 Americans were killed by gun violence in 2013 alone.
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