US & Canada

Louisiana shooting: Lafayette cinema gunman kills two

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Media captionLouisiana governor Bobby Jindal: "An awful night for Lafayette" (Courtesy KATC / KLFY news)

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

Police said the attacker was a 58-year-old white man 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 (00:30 GMT).

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Media captionMr Obama told the BBC that gun control was his biggest frustration

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

The gunman's identity is known to police, Mr Craft added, but is not being released at this time.

"We don't know whether it was a random act, whether it was a domestic situation," Mr Craft said.

The police chief said that the gunman did have a criminal history but that it was "pretty old".

Dozens of emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene of the shooting in Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 people.

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Media captionEyewitness Tanya Clark: "Everyone was screaming to run for your life"

One witness said she heard a loud bang like a firecracker and saw a man standing up and shooting during 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.

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Media captionThe BBC contrasts President Obama's reactions after mass shootings, with the levels of US gun ownership during his terms in office. (Video by David Botti)

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.

US comedian and actress Amy Schumer, 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.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Witnesses said the shooting began about 20 minutes into a screening of Trainwreck
Image copyright AP
Image caption Governor Jindal: "Awful night for the United States"

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