Reports of heroism emerge in wake of Lafayette theater shooting

After a lone gunman opened fire on a crowded theater in Lafayette, La., on Thursday, killing two and wounding nine, two teachers were lauded for their heroism and bravery.

Paul Kieu/The Daily Advertiser/AP
Law enforcement personnel stand near a police line at The Grand Theatre following a deadly shooting in Lafayette, La., Thursday.

After a lone gunman opened fire on a crowded theater in Lafayette, La., on Thursday, killing at least two people and wounding nine others, two teachers are being lauded for their heroism and bravery.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R), who traveled to the scene of the shooting just hours after it took place, told reporters that one of the teachers had jumped in front of the other, allegedly saving her life. The second teacher then succeeded in pulling a fire alarm to alert the rest of the moviegoers. The two teachers were later identified as Jena Meaux and Ali Martin, though it is unclear which woman pulled the alarm, The Times-Picayune reported.

"Her friend literally jumped over her and, by her account, actually saved her life," Mr. Jindal said.

He also added that it was “an awful night for Louisiana."

"What we can do now is we can pray," Jindal said. "We can hug these families. We can shower them with love, thoughts, and prayers."

Around 100 moviegoers had gathered to watch the film "Trainwreck," which stars comedian Amy Schumer. The shooting began just 20 minutes into the film.

"My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana,” Ms. Schumer tweeted later.

President Obama also sent his condolences and asked that his team keep him updated on the condition of the victims and the status of the investigation as he travels to Africa.

The gunman has been identified as John Russell Houser, a man in his late 50s. Police say he has a previous criminal record. The man is reportedly dead after taking his own life in the theater.  

The shooting took place just one week after James Holmes, the man who opened fire in a crowded theater in Aurora, Colo., was convicted on 165 counts of murder, attempted murder, and other charges relating to the massacre. The jury is now considering the death penalty for the Aurora shooter.

The victims of the Lafayette shooting are now being treated in a local hospital, and at least one is in critical condition.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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