LAFAYETTE, LA (WVUE) - Chilling new details emerged Friday about the Lafayette movie theater shooting. Investigators say the shooter, John Houser, opened fire in the Grand Theater on Thursday, went outside to reload, and went back in to fire more shots. Twenty-five people were inside at the time, and police say he shot 11 before turning the gun on himself.
Authorities also say Houser methodically carried out his attack and even planned a possible escape.
"One of the surviving wounded victims played dead to stay alive. What we've learned from inside is that it appears that the shooter actually took his time and was somewhat methodical as he shot folks from the top, from the back of the theater," Gov Bobby Jindal said.
New Orleans business owner Jillian Johnson and LSU student Mayci Breaux were killed. Nine others were wounded, including one man who was shot four times.
"We have confirmed through the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms unit that the weapon is a high-point, .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun. The weapon was purchased at a pawn shop in Phoenix, Alabama in February of 2014. ATF has informed us that the purchase was legal, " Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said.
Police now believe Houser was planning to escape, but when he saw an officer responding to the scene, he went back inside the theater and shot himself. But not before firing another round.
"He actually exited out a side door, was parked in an apparent attempt to get to his vehicle, at that same time a police unit was pulling into the parking lot, he re-entered the theater fired some more rounds, we think three more rounds, and a fourth round he took his own life," Craft said.
What's still unclear is why he chose that location or what his motive may have been.
"You've heard about the police officers that ran toward the sound of gunfire, very likely saving many lives in doing so. You heard about the teachers, one who jumped in front of her friend, a second who pulled a fire alarm even though she herself was shot. Today, we heard about a couple who took a wounded victim in their own car to the hospital - they didn't even wait - to make sure that person got treatment as quickly as possible," Jindal said.
The Lafayette Police Chief says his officers were outfitted with emergency medical aid kits that were intended for an officer shot in the line of duty. But officers who responded to the movie theater were able to use those kits on the wounded victims and quickly stabilize them. Those officers are being credited with saving lives.
Five victims remain hospitalized: Four are stable, the fifth is critical. Four other victims were treated and released from the hospital.