BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order instructing law enforcement to enforce Louisiana law that protects against disturbing the peace at funeral services for victims of the Lafayette theater shooting after reports surfaced that certain groups intend to protest the funerals of the two victims.
The shooting occurred on July23 at the Grand 16 Theater on Johnston Street around 7:30 p.m. in one of the movie theater’s auditoriums. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft confirmed at least three people were killed, including the gunman, who died from a self-inflicted wound. The gunman has been identified as John Russel Houser, 59.
The victims have been identified as Mayci Breaux, 21, of Franklin, Louisiana, who died at the theater, and Jillian Johnson, 33, of Lafayette, who died at the hospital. This order will ensure the law is followed and that families and loved ones have the ability to grieve for the lives lost in this senseless tragedy.
Jindal has already issued an Executive Order calling for the flags at all state buildings to be flown at half staff until Friday, July 31, 2015 out of respect for the victims.
Nine others were injured in the shooting. Authorities say Houser is from Alabama and has no known connection to Lafayette. He is described as a “drifter” by police, who said he had likely been in Lafayette since early July, staying at a motel.
“It is apparent he was intent on shooting and escaping” before police forced him back into the theater where he shot himself to death, Craft said at a news conference, explaining that his 1995 blue Lincoln Continental was positioned near the exit. After wounding 11 people — two of them fatally — inside the theater, Houser reloaded and fired one more round, killing himself, according to Craft.
Authorities have yet to determine a motive, leaving the question of why he went into a movie theater armed and opened fire unanswered. Gov. Jindal called for prayers during a press conference Thursday night following the shooting.
“The best thing anybody can do right now is to think about them, pray for them,” he said. “We will get through this. We are a resilient community. This is an awful night for Lafayette. This is an awful night for Louisiana. This is an awful night for the United States.”