The state of Louisiana was rocked by a horrific movie theater shooting Thursday night that left three people dead, and nine others wounded. John Houser, a 59-year-old white man from Alabama, opened fired at the Grand 16 Theater in the town of Lafayette and is counted among the dead.
The shooting took place during a 7:30 p.m. showing of the film, Trainwreck. Calls of an active shooter on the scene came around 8:00 p.m. local time according to reports from The Advertiser. At the time, the identity of the shooter was not known but was released earlier Friday.
There have been several conflicting reports of the casualties and injuries. The latest from WDSU in New Orleans reports that 12 people total were shot.
When police arrived at the scene, Houser and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux were pronounced dead. Jillian Johnson, also 21, died from her injuries at a local hospital according to KLFY.com.
More from KLFY.com:
The Associated Press reports that Louisiana State Police searched a room at a Motel 6 in Lafayette early Friday morning in connection with the shooting.
Louisiana State Police spokesman Maj. Doug Cain told the AP that the theater investigation led them to a room at the Motel 6. Cain also said authorities were investigating whether the shooter had stayed there. He said the bomb squad swept the room before going in as a precaution.
The AP also reported a dozen police personnel could be seen outside the motel. An officer carried out a cardboard box from the room and other officers were seen knocking on neighboring doors.
Authorities are scrambling to piece together a motive for Houser’s shooting rampage. What has been learned is that Houser hailed from Phenix, Ala. and was a so-called “drifter” who intended to make a getaway. The disguises and various licence plates found at the Motel 6 seem to suggest that Houser was hoping to escape the wrath of the law.
As this story continues to develop, we will keep watch and update if something else breaks.