Here’s What We Know So Far About the Deadly Cinema Shooting in Louisiana

An assailant opened fire on around 100 people, killing two, before turning the gun on himself.

Federal investigators respond to the scene of a shooting at the Grand Theatre on Thursday in Lafayette, Louisiana.Denny Culbert/AP

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Update, 7/24/15, 8:36 a.m.: Police have identified the gunman as 59-year-old John Russell Houser of Alabama.* Lafayette, Louisiana Police Chief Jim Craft described Houser as “a drifter.”

A Louisiana cinema showing Amy Schumer’s new movie, Trainwreck, was the scene of a deadly shooting spree Thursday evening that left three dead, including the shooter, and at least seven injured, after an assailant opened fire on an audience of around 100 people before turning the handgun on himself.

Phone calls were placed to 911 from within Grand Theater 16 in Lafayette around 7:30 p.m., and 12 ambulances were dispatched to the scene. Victims were taken to three nearby hospitals with injuries that ranged from non-life-threatening to critical.

The seven injured range in age from late teens to “probably into the 60s,” said Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft during a press conference. One victim has been released; another is in surgery and is “not doing well,” he said.

While investigators have not yet released the identity of the shooter, officials on the scene told CNN that he was a 59-year old white male with a criminal record. 

Although Grand Theater has a corporate policy against firearms in their cinemas, Louisiana state carry law only prohibits firearms in schools, places of worship, government buildings, or parades and demonstrations. 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a prospective GOP presidential nominee, was in Baton Rouge at the time of the shooting, and he arrived in Lafayette about an hour later. In a news conference, he expressed his condolences for the victims’ families. “As governor, as a father, and as a husband, whenever we see these or hear about these senseless acts of violence it make us both furious and sad at the same time,” he said.

But when the topic of gun control came up, Jindal responded, “Let’s focus on the victims right now. Tonight’s not the night.”

There already have been two mass shootings so far this year. Last month, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof killed nine people at a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina. And last week, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at two separate military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing five before committing suicide.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, President Obama said that his failure to pass “common-sense gun laws” has been the greatest frustration of his presidency. “If you ask me where has been the one area that I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient, common-sense gun safety laws,” he said.

This post has been updated.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Houser’s age.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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