NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It only took minutes from the time gunfire erupted at the Jefferson Gun Outlet to when armed store employees killed the gunman in the outside parking lot.
“Those employees did not come to work looking for a fight that day. They were put into a decision-making process that they did not ask for. But they acted calm collectively and protected, a lot of people that day,” said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto.
What is most perplexing, Lopinto says, is there is nothing to answer the biggest question: why?
The store’s surveillance video shows how employees, per store policy, told Joshua Williams to clear a loaded, extended magazine he had or bring it to his truck.
“That was the conversation that was had. Didn’t appear to be a confrontation between the two. If you look at the clerk’s demeanor they weren’t alarmed,” said Lopinto.
Williams starts to walk outside when he fires a shot into the parking lot. He then turns and shoots and kills his first victim, Victoria Billiot.
Armed employees start firing back, shattering the store’s glass door.
“He turns around and trains on Mrs. Billiot, who, in my opinion, happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Lopinto.
Williams keeps exiting and entering the store, eventually shooting and killing his second victim, store employee Noah Fischbach.
“Noah, looked like he was reaching for another gun or trying to attempt to get another gun, but in my opinion probably did not know Mr. Williams re-entered the store. He is on the ground with his back towards Mr. Williams when he fires two shots,” Lopinto says. “Screaming down the hallway, Williams looks to find more victims when he’s met by armed employees outside who shoot and kill him.”
“His magazine carries the potential 31 rounds plus another one in the chamber. You potentially could have had 32 rounds. He emptied all 32 of them,” said Lopinto.
Meanwhile, Veronica Billiot’s grieving children still grapple with the fact their mother is gone. They lay flowers and a picture frame of hand-written notes on the ground, paying tribute to the matriarch who loved them, and they loved dearly.
“Just how bright of a light she was in this world she didn’t deserve it she was the most loving mom and most loving grandmom in this world,” says Billiot’s daughter, Brooke Rojas.
They’re depending on each other for strength now, as they try to make sense of a senseless killing.
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