Another Public Attack In The News: Movie Theatre Shooting In Lafayette Puts Us One Step Closer To Losing Gun Rights

Including the gunman, a total of 12 people were shot at The Grand Theatre in Lafayette on Thursday night (July 23), officials said as they revised the number of injured from seven to nine.

Three people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who police say died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police are not yet publicly identifying the shooter, who was described as a 58-year-old white male. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, speaking at a news conference at about 1:45 a.m. Friday, said investigators have multiple addresses for the suspect — including in different states — and are working to follow up on all of those leads.

Craft provided more details early Friday about how the series of events unfolded. Witnesses told police the shooter was “seated in the theater just like everybody else,” apparently watching the comedy “Trainwreck” with the rest of the audience, when he stood up and started shooting with a semi-automatic handgun. The first two people he shot were directly in front of him, Craft said.

Two police officers were very close to the theater and were able to respond to the chaotic scene in less than a minute, Craft said. The officers entered the theater as a stream of theatergoers fled. As the officers entered, they heard a single gunshot, which was the suspect shooting himself. He may have seen the police coming, Craft said.

Officials found suspicious packages in the suspect’s car and inside the theater, but after detonating them, determined they weren’t anything of significance.

Officers are now continuing the lengthy work of processing the crime scene, which could take four to six hours, Craft said. Many people left shoes, purses and other items behind as they fled.

Bodies of two of the people who died remained inside the theater as of about 1:45 a.m. The third person died at a hospital, Craft said.

Police spent much of Thursday night interviewing dozens of witnesses. Though they had left by early Friday morning, many of their cars remained in the theater’s parking lot. Craft said officials plan to do follow-up interviews with the witnesses on Friday, and also hope to speak with those who had been injured.

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