US & Canada

US cinema shooting: Two killed in attack in Lafayette

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Media captionWitnesses say a gunman started shooting about 20 minutes into a film

A gunman has opened fire at a cinema in the US state of Louisiana, killing two people and injuring several others before shooting himself, officials say.

Police said the attacker was a 58-year-old white male armed with a handgun but did not release any further details.

Witnesses said the man opened fire about 20 minutes into a screening of a film at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette.

Hours earlier, US President Barack Obama told the BBC that gun-law reform had been his "greatest frustration".

Police chief Jim Craft said officers responded to reports of a shooting at about 19:30 local time (01:30 GMT).

The local ambulance service said two people were dead on arrival. One of them was the gunman, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Mr Craft said seven other people were taken to a local hospital with injuries ranging from critical to non-life threatening.

The identity of the gunman is known to police, Mr Craft added, but it is not being released at this time.

Lafayette is a city of about 120,000 people about 55 miles (90 km) southwest of Baton Rouge.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dozens of emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene of the shooting

One witness said she heard a loud bang like a firecracker and saw a man standing up and shooting during a screening of the film Trainwreck.

"He wasn't saying anything. I didn't hear anybody screaming either," Katie Domingue told local newspaper The Advertiser.

About 100 people are thought to have been in the building at the time of the shooting.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who arrived at the scene late on Thursday night, told reporters: "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," he added.

Amy Schumer, a US comedian and actress who stars in Trainwreck, tweeted: "My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana."

The shooting comes as a jury deliberates the death penalty for a gunman who attacked a cinema in Colorado three years ago.

James Holmes, 27, killed 12 people and wounding 70 others in July 2012 at a screening of a Batman film near Denver.