In less than two minutes, a gunman who killed two people in a rampage at a gun store near New Orleans on Saturday fired all 32 rounds in his possession before store workers shot him fatally. parking lot, authorities said on Monday. .
The shooter, Joshua Williams, had gone to the Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie, Louisiana to purchase ammunition, but when store employees told him he couldn’t bring a loaded gun into the store, he refused to ‘complied and quickly began to shoot, Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III of Jefferson Parish said at a press conference.
An intense exchange of gunfire broke out between Williams and seven store workers, two of whom were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and then released, authorities said. At the end of the shooting, investigators recovered nearly 100 shell casings and 10 firearms, three of which belonged to Mr. Williams, according to the sheriff, who released security camera footage from the attack.
“I believe, without a doubt, that he was looking to shoot more people until he ran out of bullets,” Sheriff Lopinto said. “I don’t know what was going on in Joshua Williams’ mind.”
The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office identified the two people who were killed by Mr. Williams as Veronica Billiot, 59, of Belle Chasse, Louisiana, a client; and Herbert Fischbach, 47, Jefferson, Louisiana, a store employee.
Authorities said Mr Williams, a 27-year-old New Orleans resident, had a license to carry a concealed firearm, but did not disclose the type of weapon he used during of the shooting.
Investigators said Mr Williams was accompanied to the store by his brother and his brother’s two children, aged 7 and 9. They said the brother was cooperating with the authorities, who were not sure what prompted the shooter to open fire.
“Basically he said his brother had turned around,” Sheriff Lopinto said.
A woman who identified herself as Mr Williams’ aunt said in a Facebook post on Monday that Mr Williams had struggled to control his anger. She cited her race and poor upbringing as contributing factors to her state of mind.
“He was unfortunately out of control of a situation because of a big anger control issue,” wrote woman Janice Hutchinson. “He was the victim of many social ills that plague too many young black men who were born and raised in poverty in one of the richest countries in the world.”
Investigators did not say on Monday whether race was a motive for the shooting, which they said began as a course on concealed carrying permits was conducted on the second floor of the gun store. The building also houses a shooting range.
“These employees did not come to work to fight that day,” Sheriff Lopinto said. “They put their lives on the line to make sure they can protect others.”
Mr Williams entered the store around 3 p.m. on Saturday and watched ammunition with his brother for about seven minutes, authorities said. Employees at the store noticed Mr. Williams had a gun with an extended magazine protruding, according to the sheriff, who said an employee told Mr. Williams he had to empty the ammunition or leave the gun in his car.
Mr Williams reluctantly started to walk for the exit, but when he reached the door he held it open with his body and fired a shot into the air, authorities said. Then he pointed his gun at Ms. Billiot, as the security camera footage shows.
He shot Ms Billiot at least twice, the sheriff said, adding Ms Billiot was standing by the counter at the entrance.
Efforts to reach Ms Billiot’s family on Monday failed, but her sister Linda Billiot told the Nola.com news website that Veronica Billiot, a military housing manager and mother of three, had gone to the store to get a gun fire. had purchased for personal protection.
“It’s shocking – I’m not dealing with it,” Linda Billiot told the website, adding that her sister “had no idea” of the growing danger.
Next, Mr Williams exchanged gunfire with store workers, hitting one of them, a man, in the arm before briefly leaving the store with one of his brother’s children, the sheriff said . Mr Williams then returned to the company and fired his gun twice at Mr Fischbach, who had taken cover, and hit him in the back once, authorities said.
In addition to working at the store, Mr. Fischbach, who went by the name Noah, worked with props and special effects in the film industry, drawing on his knowledge of guns, his father said in a statement. interview on the day of filming.
In security camera footage, the sheriff said, Mr. Williams’ brother can be seen waving Mr. Williams out of the store. A following clip shows Mr. Williams wandering down a hallway inside the building. A third store worker was shot in the leg by Mr Williams in another exchange before the gunman was killed in the front parking lot, authorities said.
“Again,” Sheriff Lopinto said, “I don’t know if I can ever tell you why this happened.”
Sheelagh McNeill contributed to the research.