Armed citizens were credited for curbing deaths in a shooting Saturday in Louisiana, in which three people were killed, including the suspect.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said that an outburst at a gun store and range near the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport also left two people with gunshot wounds, according to Fox News.
“Arriving deputies located several victims suffering from gunshot wounds,” a sheriff’s department statement said. “Three individuals were pronounced dead on the scene, and two more were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The two transported victims are in stable condition.”
The incident occurred near the Jefferson Gun Outlet on Airline Drive in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, which is located west of the city. Authorities noted that armed residents who were at the scene took part in taking down the shooter.
“At this time, it appears a suspect shot two victims inside the location, then was engaged and shot outside the location by multiple other individuals,” Capt. Jason Rivarde, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said, according to NOLA.com. “The suspect is one of the deceased on the scene.”
“I have multiple shooters here at this location that were either customers, employees or individuals here at the location itself, and we’re trying to put it all together and piece it together with what we have in this developing scene,” Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III said at a news conference.
Local reports noted that employees at the gun shop and range routinely open-carry firearms. However, it wasn’t clear whether they engaged the shooter or whether he was shot by customers or bystanders outside the business.
As of Saturday evening, authorities had not publicly announced people who were involved in the incident. Photos taken at the scene show police, including a department chaplain, comforting people.
Here at the scene of where JPSO says multiple shootings just took place here at the Jefferson Gun Outlet. At least one dead. We are working to find out details on the situation. Watch @wdsu at 5P. pic.twitter.com/jkLpj55pee
— Shay O'Connor (@SOCONNORNEWS) February 20, 2021
“We heard the gunshots and the screaming,” said Tyrone Russell, who was at the location taking a conceal-and-carry class. He told reporters the gunshots were much louder than the muffled sounds of gunfire at the 14-lane shooting range.
“When the police came, they escorted us out. I could see glass everywhere,” Russell said, adding, “It was just like a really scary scene.”
Russell said his vehicle in the parking lot had been struck with bullets and that he saw a man “laid out” near it.
Another student in the concealed carry class, Wanetta Joseph, said she hid under a table with other students. “It got extremely loud, like a bomb almost,” she told reporters.
An instructor remained with the students as the incident played out; two others left the classroom and headed toward the gunfire.
One customer inside the gun shop at the time, as well as two others who arrived afterward and said they were related to the victims, told reporters that the firing began after two brothers arrived at the business and range. It’s not clear, but something occurred near the entrance which then attracted other customers. One brother was killed while the other was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, The New York Times reported, adding that the witnesses would not give their name.
Another customer who was taking the concealed-carry course appeared to question why anyone would want to start a gunfight at a firearms store. “Everybody’s strapped in there,” he said, according to NOLA.com.
The Times reported that John Fischbach said his son, Noah, 47, worked at the gun store and was killed in the shooting. He also said that his son worked on special effects and props in the film industry involving his knowledge of guns.
“He was a great kid, and everybody loves him,” Fischbach told the Times.
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