A shooter brought a gun to a movie theater in Louisiana on Thursday night, killing three people and injuring seven others before shooting himself. Gov. Bobby Jindal has called for prayers for the families of the shooting victims.
According to Ed Payne of CNN, police in Lafayette, La., indicated that the shooter had a criminal history dating back several years. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft noted that of the seven injured victims, one has been released from hospital and another is in surgery "not doing well"; the ages ranged from late teens to "probably into the 60s."
"There's nothing to believe that there was any kind of motive," said Col. Michael Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police.
According to CNN, police have identified the shooter as a 58-year-old white man who was a theater patron. However, they are withholding his name while conducting an investigation.
"The shooting took place shortly before 8:30 p.m. ET at the Grand Theatre 16 in Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 people, 60 miles west of Baton Rouge," Payne said.
Police told CNN that about 100 people were inside the theater watching the comedy film "Trainwreck" when the shooter pulled out a handgun and started firing randomly.
"I almost thought it was part of the movie at first," patron Jalen Fernell, who was in a theater next door, said. "Immediately we get terrified because they are telling us to head out to vehicles. It was kinda like a war going on ... gunshots after gunshots."
CNN also talked to Paige Barb, a witness who took off running when the alarm sounded.
"I saw people bleeding from the leg, they were shot," Barb said. "And I was like 'Wow.' It was like a movie itself."
According to CNN, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal arrived at the scene of the shooting.
"Whenever we hear about these senseless acts of violence, it makes us both furious and sad at the same time," Jindal said. "This is an awful night for Lafayette, this is an awful night for Louisiana, [and] this is an awful night for the United States. But we will get through this."
According to Hasani Gittens of NBC News, Jindal indicated that he will be meeting with the families of the victims. He recalled the story of two patrons in the theater, schoolteacher friends who may have shielded the other from a fatal bullet.
"One of the teachers jumped on top of the second teacher in an act of braveness," Jindal said. "Both teachers got shot but the second one, the one who got saved, even though she got shot she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm and save other lives."
Craft told CNN that the shooter's motive may never be truly known.
"This kind of stuff just leaves you wondering," Craft said. "Why would a guy come into a theater in this city -- we have a relatively safe city -- and just, you know, randomly start shooting people. It's hard to figure out. He's deceased, so we may now never know."
In the meantime, Jindal stated that "we can pray" for the victims of this tragedy.
"We can hug these families. We can shower them with love, thoughts and prayers," Jindal said.