Lafayette , La. — A man opened fire inside a movie theater in a Lafayette, Louisiana, multiplex, Thursday night, killing two people and wounding seven others — before taking his own life.
“There’s nothing to believe that there was any kind of motive,” said Col. Michael Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police.
The shooter was a 58-year-old white man who was a theater patron, police said. Authorities have his name but are withholding it as the investigation continues.
The shooting took place shortly before 8:30 p.m ET at the Grand Theatre 16 in Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 people, 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.
About 100 people were inside the theater for a screening of the comedy, “Trainwreck,” when the shooter began firing randomly using a handgun, police said.
‘Gunshots after gunshots’
Jalen Fernell said he was in a theater next door.
“I almost thought it was part of the movie at first,” he said of the gunshots.
An alarm went off, followed by an overhead intercom message asking patrons to get out.
“Immediately we get terrified because they are telling us to head out to vehicles,” he said. “It was kinda like a war going on … gunshots after gunshots.”
Paige Bearb, another witness, said she took off running when the alarm sounded.
“I saw people bleeding from the leg, they were shot,” she said. “And I was like ‘Wow.’ It was like a movie itself.”
‘Awful night for the United States’
Four officers entered the theater and found the gunman dead.
“It appears the shooter died from a self inflicted gun shot wound after discharging his weapon numerous times,” said Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft.
The extent of those who were injured range from critical to non-life threatening, he said.
Bomb squads conducted a sweep of the theater and the parking lot. Police temporarily closed a nearby Grand theater and deployed officers to other movie houses as a precaution.
They determined the gunman acted alone and there was no additional threat.
“Whenever we hear about these senseless acts of violence, it makes us both furious and sad at the same time,” said Louisiana Govner and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, from the scene of the shooting.
“This is an awful night for Lafayette, this is an awful night for Louisiana, this is an awful night for the United States. But we will get through this.”
‘My heart is broken’
The shooting occurred six days after the conviction of James Holmes in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 people wounded.
On July 19, 2012, Holmes opened fire during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” using an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one .40 caliber handgun. The shooting stopped with Holmes’ arrest outside the theater about seven minutes after the first 911 calls were made to police.
Late Wednesday night, Amy Schumer, the star of the movie “Trainwreck” tweeted, “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.”
While the shooter may have taken his motive with him with his death, the investigation is far from complete.
Authorities will put together a profile on the shooter, search his house and trace the gun, said CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin.
For now, said Gov. Jindal, “we can pray.
“We can hug these families. We can shower them with love, thoughts and prayers.”
It happened just three days after the third anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting.