Gunman opens fire at Louisiana theater, kills 3, injures 7

Gunman opens fire at Louisiana theater, kills 3, injures 7
Officials stand by the scene outside the movie theatre where a man opened fire on film goers in Lafayette, Louisiana July 23, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

LOUISIANA- A 58-year-old gunman opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Thursday evening, killing two people and injuring seven others before taking his own life, police said.

The gunfire erupted during a crowded 7 p.m. CDT (0000 GMT) showing of the film "Train Wreck" and took place almost three years to the day after a movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colorado, that killed 12 people.

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said two people died in the hail of bullets before the gunman shot himself to death.

He said seven people suffered injuries ranging from non life-threatening to critical. Craft said authorities knew the shooter's identity but were not releasing his name during the early stage of the investigation.

Witness Katie Domingue told the local Advertiser newspaper that the gunman was an older white man who stood up in the theater and began shooting. "He wasn't saying anything. I didn't hear anybody screaming either," Domingue said.

Keifer Sanders told CNN that some 100 people were in the theatre when the gunman opened fire.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal traveled to Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 people roughly 55 miles (90 km) southwest of Baton Rouge. "As governor, as a father and as a husband, whenever we hear about these senseless acts of violence it makes us both furious and sad at the same time," he said at a briefing.

The shooting came three years after a gunman opened fire at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, during a screening of the Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises", killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others.

James Holmes was convicted last week on 165 counts of murder, attempted murder and explosives in the July 20, 2012, rampage.

Jurors in that case were trying to determine if Holmes should face the death penalty or life in prison.

The United States has witnessed several mass shootings in the last two months.

A gunman is accused of a racially motivated shooting at a black church in South Carolina that killed nine church members in June. More recently, a gunman attacked military offices in Tennessee last week, killing five U.S. servicemen.

In a BBC interview excerpt that aired on Thursday before the shooting, U.S. President Barack Obama said his biggest frustration was the failure to pass "common-sense gun safety laws" in the United States.

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