Three people are dead, including the gunman, in a shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Twelve people all together were shot and nine were taken to the hospital, officials said.
The gunman and one other person were pronounced dead on arrival. Emergency workers said they got the call to go to the theater about 7:30 p.m.
Authorities said a third person died about 10 p.m. at the hospital.
The nine injured range in age from teens to 60s, said Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft.
One victim was released from the hospital; another is in surgery and is “not doing well,” Craft said.
The gunfire broke out at the Grand 16 Theater, which is located on Johnston Street, to the south of downtown Lafayette.
The shooting happened during a 7 p.m. showing of the movie “Trainwreck,” officials said. The shooting was contained to a single theater.
The weapon used in the shooting was a handgun, authorities said.
Lauren Palliser, a witness of the shooting, spoke to WDSU, detailing the chaotic moments as gunshots erupted.
“Definitely sheer panic — mass chaos,” she said. “There was a couple of people who were, I guess, maybe unaware of what was going on.”
Palliser said another couple was yelling as others were trying to comprehend the situation as it unfolded.
“There was a family standing there, a lady and her young son right next to the movie theater, and they were saying ‘This is not a joke. There is a guy in there with a gun. You need to get out now. Get to your cars now,'” she said.
According to officials, a 58-year-old man who was a theater patron fired multiple shots. There were about 100 people inside the theater at the time.
Police said they know the identity of the shooter but are not releasing his name at this time.
Officials said the shooter has a criminal history but nothing “recent,” Craft said.
Valerie Ponseti, a reporter for KATC-TV, said officials initially thought the shooting was a prank.
“At first they thought it was just some teenagers playing a prank, and then they saw several people that were injured coming out and at that point they just ran out of the theater, leaving their shoes, their wallets and their phones,” she said.
The co-star of the movie, Amy Schumer, posted her sympathies on Twitter, saying, “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said the shooting marks “an awful night for Lafayette.”
“This is an awful night for Louisiana. This is an awful night for the United States. But we will get through this,” Jindal said.
The governor said he will be meeting with the families and the victims.
“I want to praise the first responders (and) our law enforcement community,” Jindal said. “They ran towards the shots fired, they ran towards danger — not away from it.”
Jindal praised two teachers as heroes for their actions at a Lafayette movie theater when shooting began.
He said one teacher jumped in front of the other, saving her life. The second teacher then managed to pull a fire alarm, he said.
“I know a lot of us are horrified and shocked, but now is the time for us to come together,” Jindal said.
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, a Republican from Lafayette, echoed the governor’s sentiment and said he is “saddened at the terrible loss of life.”
Officials said they identified the shooting suspect’s car.
The area was evacuated after suspicious items were spotted in the car and a bomb squad was at the scene, officials said.
Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police said people at the scene will likely be hearing the sound of the car’s window and trunk being exploded.
The crime scene processing work has been suspended. After the car is cleared, authorities will then go into the theater where the bodies lie.
Lafayette is about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.