Artist, student killed in Lafayette theater shooting
LAFAYETTE - Louisiana State Police released the names of two women killed in a shooting at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette overnight.
LSP said 21-year-old Mayci Breaux of Franklin died at the scene, while 33-year-old Jillian Johnson of Lafayette died from her injuries at a local hospital.
According to KATC.com, Johnson was a local business owner who founded River Ranch boutique Red Arrow Workshop and Parish Ink, an apparel store with locations in River Ranch, Downtown Lafayette and New Orleans. She also spent years as the lead singer of Lafayette all-female band, The Figs.
Breaux's Facebook page said she was a student at LSU Eunice who graduated from Hanson Memorial High. Her father is a sugar cane farmer, and she was a finalist in 2014 for the Louisiana Sugar Cane beauty contest.
We are in shock and mourning over the loss of one of our own, Mayci Breaux. Our thoughts are with all of the victims and their families.— LSU Eunice (@LSU_Eunice) July 24, 2015
Investigators said nine other people were shot by 59-year-old John R. Houser of Phenix City, Ala., who witnesses said stood up during the 7 p.m. showing of "Trainwreck" and just started firing into the crowd.
Troopers said only two of the surviving shooting victims had been released from the hospital. One remained in critical condition, according to authorities.
Among those injured were two teachers, Jena Meaux and Ali Martin, who Governor Bobby Jindal praised for their actions. The governor said one teacher jumped in front of the other, saving her life, while the second pulled the fire alarm in the theater. A fundraising page has been set up by two teachers groups to help cover their medical expenses.
Randall Mann said his daughter Emily and a friend were sitting in the same row as the shooter. He said they were not hurt.
"They heard a couple of pops and didn't know what it was... And then they saw the muzzle flashes, and that's when they knew what was going on. She hit the floor immediately," Mann said. "She's traumatized."
David Callecod, president of Lafayette General Hospital, said five of the shooting victims were brought there and two have already been released. Doctors said most of the wounds from the shooting were to people's torso and limbs. Breaux was studying radiology and hospital staff said she was about to work in their X-ray department as part of her training.
A Lafayette General security director was at the theater with his wife when the shooting happened and took one of the victims to the emergency room in their car, according to hospital staff.
Doctors said they expect all the survivors to be released from the hospital soon.
Lafayette doctor says everyone's treatment at Lafayette General is different but they expect them to recover within days. #LafayetteShooting— Brittany Weiss (@MsBWeiss) July 24, 2015
Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies continued to process crime scenes Friday morning at the the theater and a motel where police said Houser was staying. LSP said they expect that work to take the rest of the day.
Authorities also said many people had expressed a desire to come to the theater for vigils or prayer groups. Dee Stanley, Lafayette's chief administrative officer, cautioned against that so law enforcement could continue working the crime scene without interruption. Stanley said the nearby Our Lady of Fatima church had offered to serve as a location for those groups.
As news of the shooting broke on Thursday night, the Westboro Baptist Church, connected to the shooter via social media posts, announced their intention to picket the funerals of the victims through a video posted to their Twitter account. Just a week prior, the group was planning to picket the funerals of Chattanooga shooting victims.
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