Two women killed in Louisiana theater shooting, police say

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By Ray Sanchez, Greg Botelho and Pete Burn

CNN

(CNN) — One co-owned a gift and toy shop. Another was a college student who also worked at a women’s clothing store.

Jillian Johnson, 33, was one of two women killed in a shooting at the Lafayette, Louisiana Grand 16 movie theater on July 23, 2015, Police Chief Jim Craft said Friday.

Jillian Johnson, 33, was one of two women killed in a shooting at the Lafayette, Louisiana Grand 16 movie theater on July 23, 2015, Police Chief Jim Craft said Friday.

Jillian Johnson, 33, and Mayci Breaux, 21, were among those shot Thursday night by a gunman at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater at a showing of the Amy Schumer comedy, “Trainwreck.”

Breaux, of Franklin, Louisiana, was killed at the scene, and Johnson, who was from Lafayette, died a short time later at a nearby hospital, Lafayette police Chief Jim Craft said.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that these two individuals had a vision, had a name, had a future,” said Col. Michael Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police. “It wasn’t to die as they did horribly in this theater here.”

Of the nine others injured, one is in critical condition Friday morning, and two have been released, Craft said. Authorities identified the gunman as 59-year-old John Russell Houser.

An online business profile identifies Johnson as the co-owner of the Red Arrow Workshop. The business is described as a gift, apparel, accessories and toy shop. Johnson owned the shop with her husband, Jason Brown, the website says.

She was “obsessed with Fats Waller,” and her all-time favorite movie was “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” according to the site.

Mayci Breaux, 21, was one of two women killed in a shooting at the Lafayette, Louisiana Grand 16 movie theater on July 23, 2015, Police Chief Jim Craft said Friday.

Mayci Breaux, 21, was one of two women killed in a shooting at the Lafayette, Louisiana Grand 16 movie theater on July 23, 2015, Police Chief Jim Craft said Friday.

“Pretty much any time you go in, she is there and doing work,” a friend, Caitlin Sonnier, said of Johnson’s presence at the shop. “She was very devoted to it.”

Johnson was also part of a band, the Figs, which was at the “forefront of a movement of a younger generation embracing cajun/folk music traditions and making them popular and “cool” again,” another friend, Molly Rowe, said via email.

“She was … a phenomenal musician, which is what most of the community knew her for,” Rowe said.

Kimberly Wooten said the impression Johnson made on people was lasting.

“She was a creative being,” Wooten said. “She made life better, from what she said … from her hand to what she made. Her and her husband are just such a presence here in Lafayette, and Lafayette has become such a better place just for not only Jillian but her entire family.”

The Red Arrow Workshop posted a message on its Facebook page.

“Our hearts are shattered,” the post said. “We will love you forever. She was a once-in-a-lifetime gal. A mother, daughter, sister and a truly exceptional wife. She was an artist, a musician, an entrepreneur and a true renaissance woman. She was the love of my life and I will miss her always.”

And tributes to Johnson appeared on her Facebook page.

Breaux attended Louisiana State University-Eunice, according to LSU President F. King Alexander.

She worked at Coco Eros, a women’s clothing store in Lafayette. Her employer posted on Facebook that “many of you had come to know and love Mayci” during her time working there.

“Nothing ever prepares you for a loss… Much less the loss of such an amazing young woman,” the Coco Eros post said. “We are deeply saddened.”

Houser killed both women and wounded the others after opening fire from the back of the theater before shooting himself, Craft said. Authorities said he was a “drifter” from Alabama who had arrived in Lafayette in early July and didn’t appear to know anybody there, much less the victims.

CNN’s David Williams contributed to this report.

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4 comments

  • JACK JOHNSON

    In the early 1970s you could still buy dynamite at the hardware store and Americans didn’t use it to blow people up. This shooting is evidence of our moral decay.

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