An individual opened fire at the Grand 16 movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana Thursday night before turning the gun on himself.
Three people have been confirmed dead, including the shooter, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said. One of the victims died in the hospital.
At least nine were left with injuries ranging from critical to non-life threatening, he added.
The victims were identified as 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux.
The gunman, who police identified as 59-year-old John Russel Houser, was using a handgun and inside the theater during the attack.
Craft said that the suspect had some criminal history, but that it was “old”. No “manifesto” had been found that might explain his motive, police said.
Houser, however, apparently wrote anti-government, anti-media blog posts. He was subject to a 2008 restraining order in which his then-wife and daughter were “fearful of him,” police said.
In the restraining order, Houser’s family said he had a history of manic depression and bipolar disorder, his wife removed all weapons from their home because of her concerns.
He was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility. And last year, he got an eviction notice from a Phenix City, Alabama, property that had been damaged, a sheriff there said.
Katie Domingue of Carencro was at the 7:10 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck” with her fiance, Joshua Doggett.
About 20 minutes into the movie, Domingue said, she heard a loud noise. “We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker,” she told The Advertiser.
She saw “an older white man” standing up and shooting down, not in her direction.
“He wasn’t saying anything. I didn’t hear anybody screaming either,” Domingue said.
She heard about six shots, then she and Doggett ran to the nearest exit, leaving behind her shoes and purse.
Later it emerged that two teachers who were in the theater are being described as heroes by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal during a press conference. One of the teachers was shot in the leg but managed to pull the fire alarm and one had even thrown herself in front of the shooter to save her friend.
“Even though she was shot in the leg, she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm to help save other lives,” Jindal said.
Police were called around 7:30 p.m. local time, Cpl. Paul Mouton said.
“It really is a chaotic scene,” Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said. “There were a lot of people here.”
This shooting happened just three days after the third anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting.