24 Jul 2015

Three dead in US cinema shooting

4:21 pm on 24 July 2015

Two people have been killed and several wounded after a gunman opened fire inside a packed movie theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana.

At some point, the gunman died from a self-inflicted wound, officials said.

The shooting comes shortly after James Holmes was convicted of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado.

Seven people were injured at today's shooting at the Grand 16 Theatre on Johnston Street. The conditions of those injured range from non-life-threatening to critical, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said at a news conference.

Gunfire broke out around 7.30pm in one of the movie theatre's auditoriums, the Lafayette Police Department told the ABC. According to the Associated Press, the movie Trainwreck was playing at the time.

More than 100 people were in the theatre, according to Louisiana State Police.

"We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker," witness Katie Domingue told the Daily Advertiser, according to the AP.

She said a man shot down into the theatre. "He wasn't saying anything. I didn't hear anybody screaming either," Ms Domingue said, according to the AP.

When police arrived, they heard shooting, Mr Craft said.

The shooting was contained to one theatre, according to Mr Craft.

The identity of the shooter is known but is not being released, Mr Craft said. The shooter was described as a man in his 50s.

The motive for the shooting remained unclear.

Governor Bobby Jindal, who arrived in Lafayette tonight, called the shooting a seemingly random act of violence at a news conference.

"Whenever we see these or hear about these senseless acts of violence, it makes us both furious and sad at the same time," Mr Jindal said.

"Lafayette is a strong community," Mr Jindal said. "We will get through this, we're 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."

The FBI said in a statement: "The FBI New Orleans Division is aware of a shooting incident that occurred at a Lafayette area movie theatre in which FBI Agents, along with state and local law enforcement have responded. Presently a joint law enforcement co-ordination is under way and further details will be shared once the information becomes available."

The theatre and its parent company, the Southern Theatres, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.