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Gunman Opened Fire in a Crowded Movie Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana; Continuing Lafayette Shooting Coverage. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 24, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Here we are again just a few weeks after Chattanooga reporting on the unthinkable trying to come to grips with the unspeakable.

We have facts to guide the way tonight. New pieces of information how a gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater, how he tried to get away and tried to kill more people before finally belatedly taking his own life. We know about the chaos and the panic, the acts of heroism and sacrifice inside the Lafayette Louisiana multiplex. We know how many shots were fired, who was hit, who died. And we're learning more about what may have motivated the killer. Yet for all of the new hard information that we have tonight, to describe both the horror and one man's twisted path to causing it. There are other facts that matter even more.

The hardest facts of all, that Jillian Johnson will never get to live the long life she had in front of her and neither will Mayci Breaux. Mayci Breaux is just 21 years old, a university student. Her boyfriend badly injured. Jillian Johnson was a musician who also run a local gift shop. She was just 33 and had more than just a knack for business and music. Her friend who you are going hear from in this hour describes how how special she was. She could hold up a mirror, he says, and show you this is why you are beautiful.

Our thoughts are with him and with everyone who is missing a friend, mourning a loved one or family member, sitting at a hospital bedside right now or simply coming to terms with it all. So even as we bring you the latest on what happened and who did it, we'll not be saying the killer's name.

We begin with our Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment of horror inside a Louisiana movie theater.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Standing up. Running straight down. You could see it like the light from the end of his gun. You know, almost like a flash.

NOBLES: Police say this man, the 59-year-old shooter stood up in a crowded movie theater, armed with a handgun and opened fire. It was 20 minutes into a showing of the comedy "Trainwreck" at Grand 16 theater.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was blood everywhere. That's when we realized what was going on. So we ran.

NOBLES: 21-year-old Mayci Breaux and 33-year-old Jillian Johnson were shot dead and nine other injured, one critically. The shooter fired off at least 13 round and left the theater before turning around, firing again, and then killing himself. Officials say the presence of law enforcement caused him to turn the gun on himself.

COL. MIKE EDMONSON, LOUISIANA POLICE: He turned it on himself because coming up the hallway and that small theater were police officers coming into it.

NOBLES: First responders raced to the scene carrying out the wounded. The cell phone video shows an officer and two civilians coming to the aid of one of the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were two police officers who were actually on this property at the time the incident occurred.

NOBLES: As the gunshots rang out that injured school teacher managed to reach of and pull a fire alarm. She is being called a hero tonight. Officials say one 40 caliber handgun was recovered at the scene. And they found wigs and other disguises in the shooter's hotel room. What remains a mystery tonight is motive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is such a senseless, tragic act. Why would you come here and do something like this? And so, just like the victims, we're searching for answers too?

NOBLES: The search for answers continues to be intense as the healing process begins.


COOPER: Let's talk about that healing process, do we know how the nine victims injured in the shooting are doing?

NOBLES: Yes, Anderson. There is actually some hope there. Four of those victims have already been released from the hospital. Five are still being treated. One of those victims is still in critical condition. But officials told us today there is hope that patient is improving -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate that.

As we said, state and local officials talked to reporters this evening about what they saw today inside the theater. They talked as we mentioned about the evidence they have been gathering from the scene and from the, the angry trail, the killer left online and in life.

Colonel Michael Edmondson is one of the officials heading of the investigation. He is superintendent of Louisiana state police, I spoke with him moments before air.


COOPER: Colonel Edmondson, I appreciate you joining us. First of all on the investigation what's the latest information you can tell us?

EDMONSON: Well, we try to put together a piece of the puzzle. This is a very large puzzle. And a lot of pieces out there. Trying to determine why the individual was in Lafayette, of all places a stones throw from university of Louisiana-Lafayette. Why did he pick the movie theater, why he bought that ticket, why did he go in there? Sit in the back row? And then fire directly two people in front of him. Why did he move around that? Why was his car parked out to make a getaway? The keys were placed on the tire of the car? Why was in a motel 8 not far from here with wigs and glasses for some type of disguises? Where he traveled to in Louisiana.

We have been all over the state from where we see lead of people, saw him in Lake Charles, saw him in Baton Rouge, we have been with the FBI, they have been lead all over Florida, Alabama. Every place that we could find out that someone had seen him or someone had talked to him. It was important to us that we follow up on those and try to put this puzzle together. Because two people died here. 21-year-old beautiful girl and a 33-year-old beautiful woman. You know what they had a vision. They had a goal. And you know they had a name. And it wasn't to die in this movie theater right here. So I believe we need off to bring closure to the family. We need to let them know, that you know what, we are not going to stop until we can put the puzzle together and we can bring closure to you.

[20:05:43] COOPER: And you -- I know you have been inside. I mean, what, when you see something like that, what -- obviously you are experienced, but it has got to hit you?

EDMONSON: You know, Anderson, I walked in there for the first time with the police chief earlier this afternoon. The blood still right there where he shot himself and died. While a lady hit multiple times in the leg and died. Saw where she was lying. I saw where he was sitting in the back portion. I walked in. I looking up at the, they use the long sticks to go through the bullet holes so you can see them. And to sit there and count the bullet holes through the seats where people were sitting. To know he stood of in a location, shot that 21-year-old girl right in front of him. Her boyfriend several times who was knocked over and laid played dead in one particular area. Where he moved methodically down the side firing throughout that, throughout that theater before making his way to the - you know, I saw my kids sitting there. I did. I just saw my family. As I watched the police chief, he walked in, for the first time. This is his city. And the emotion, I just watched his shoulders drop. Because, you know, he wants to fix this. He wants to find out what out what is going on what happened. And we are going to do we can.

And you know what, the public feels comfortable. Because we shouldn't stop our lives because things like this happen. People have to go on about it. So I saw all that in front of it. There is a horrific scene, Anderson. I have been doing this over 35 years. Something I have not seen. I have seen a lot of bad, bad stuff. But this was a horrific scene. As you know, why did it happen? And that's what we have got to keep our mind together. We got to sit there and figure out, let's put this puzzle together. It's a marathon. It is not a 100 yard dash. And we have got to work extra hard for the two, those two lady.

COOPER: That still is not known. I mean why he picked that theater? Did he intend going into the theater with the express purpose of committing murders, mass murders. Those are all questions that have not been answered, correct?

EDMONSON: There is no doubt that he planned this. There is no doubt. We have diaries that we're pouring through, that he kept explicit information. We go on his blogs, reading everything we can about him. But he certainly planned this. You had to. He had a gun on him. He purchase that gun. He had it with him. He had the time of the movie theater. He had the name of the movie itself, "Trainwreck." He knew all the things, involved. We believe he has been here before. We believe he has been in multiple locations in Louisiana. Maybe this particular night he said, you know what here's the time, here's the moment, I'm going to act. And I certainly want to get into his mind try to figure that out. But we don't have that possibility now. So we have to take the evidence at the scene. There is a lot of innuendoes. A lot of speculating out there. You know we don't do that. We try to deal with facts. Because we want to sit in front of that family, tell them this is what we believe happened. And this is why it happened and this is how we responded to it. So we are going to do everything in our power, try to put this puzzle together so we can bring closure to this community, to that family and to this theater.

COOPER: Well Colonel, appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. And we wish your officer the best. Thank you so much.

EDMONSON: I appreciate it. Thank you for everything you do.


COOPER: More now on the profile that we are getting of the gunman. Again, we are looking for reasons why. We are not looking to make this individual any better known than he sadly already is. That is why we are not using his name. We have showed this picture. But mainly because investigators, police are still trying to appeal to the public for information, any information anyone may have who this person is and what his motivation was.

The profile a pretty clear one apparently and not just in retrospect. An acquaintance of the gunman telling "The New York Times" today if you gave me 40 names and 40 pictures of people who might have done that, I wouldn't hatch hesitated to point him out.

Senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin tonight looks at some of the warning signs.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The son of a tax collector, he was educated with a law degree. But mental illness added to a lifetime of hate, violence and bizarre behavior. The 59-year-old once ran for public office and in blog postings and editorials expressed stern views that the U.S. was headed downhill, a Muslim fundamentalist said it right, even showing admiration for Adolph Hitler. He has a long history of domestic abuse and erratic behavior dating back at 1989 when he was arrested for trying to burn down an attorney's office. And in 2008 his wife filed a protective order pleading with the court to have his guns taken away. This afternoon the suspect's own brother says the shooter has been out of touch for years.

[20:10:15] REMBERT HAUSER JR., BROTHER OF SHOOTER: You know we had been close in years and I'm not sure of the right, separated from our family and just -- different emotional -- depression issues, psychological problems that type of thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: When was the last time you saw him?

HAUSER: Probably about a month ago. He just needed some money to continue moving on, living and surviving. And so we gave him some. And that was the last we heard of him. And we hadn't heard of him probably in ten years prior to that. I haven't heard from him since. We didn't know where he was. We didn't know anything about him. And so, this was a complete shock.

GRIFFIN: His mental health continue declined and seems to have led to divorce proceedings, alienation, bankruptcies and unemployment. In Alabama the local sheriff today said the shooter was evicted from a home just last year, he left it vandalized, pouring cement in the plumbing and rigging gas lines in an attempt to make them explode.

But even with his record and known mental illness, there was no legal recourse according to the sheriff off to keep him off the streets.

SHERIFF HEATH TAYLOR, RUSSELL COUNTY, ALABAMA: The state is allowing a lot of these people that should not be walking around to be out in the community. And you know, that's a scary scenario that we are dealing with every day.

GRIFFIN: The biggest missing piece of this mystery is why and how the shooter left Alabama and ended up living in a motel 6 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Why he chose to lash out violently this time in a movie theater showing a comedy.


COOPER: Drew, so - I mean, clearly he has a long history of mental illness, domestic violence, how does he legally pass a background check and buy a gun?

GRIFFIN: Because the background checks are based on convictions. And despite the fact that he was arrested for arson he wasn't convicted of it. Despite the fact he has been arrested and brought in many, many times for domestic abuse, he is not convicted of it. And even though what a judge tells him to go get mental help and he voluntarily goes for treatment because he is not adjudicated or convicted of mental illness, he just doesn't show of any of these instant federal background check. So he legally goes into to buy a gun. Even though everybody we talk to today, Anderson, from friend to law enforcement who knew him knew this guy was mentally unstable.

COOPER: It's unbelievable. Drew, appreciate the update on that.

When we come back, a young survivor joins us to talk about what she saw.

And later, a friend remembers Jillian Johnson.


[20:16:32] COOPER: We got a sense at the top what went on inside that multiplex theater. State police Colonel Michael Edmonson describing just a short time ago what he saw at the scene today talking about the planning that apparently went into the act itself. The killer apparently sought out a popular movie to maximize casualties.

Now, what we want to do with the help of Tom Foreman is electronically walk you through as much of it as we now know.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that he clearly had a plan. That's the main part. The why, wherefore, we do not know. We also know that it was well under way before he got to the theater. Seems to have started at the motel some miles away. Authorities don't know how he got there or why he was there. But they know that he left wigs and glasses there that apparently he was going to use as a disguise to get away.

And as he came to the theater, this idea of an escape plan seemed to be fully intact. Take a look at the theater. When he pulled up here all indications are that he had changed the license plates on his car. He left the keys sitting on the top of a tire so he wouldn't drop them in the dark theater something like that. And he parked right over here near this corner, near one of the many exits around here so he could get out quickly.

Now, when he went inside this theater complex, Anderson. He had a choice of 16 different theaters that he could go to. He chose one that was showing one of the new popular movies where he would have a better chance of getting a crowd of people. As it was there were 25 to 26 people in there according to authorities. This was the exit he was parked by here. He went into the theater after buying a ticket, waited till the previews were over with and the movie started around 7:30, authority say that's when authorities say he stood up and started by shooting the two people immediately in front of him. Then they say he stood at the back of the theater shooting down the slope as people tried to flee, Anderson.

COOPER: I was reading FBI statistics. And I think they did a study of active shooting situations over the last many years. And most of them only last for several minutes. Do we know how long this whole incident lasted?

FOREMAN: Authorities say he was very methodical about the shooting that was going on again over in the part of the movie complex over here. But he only shot one ten-round clip to begin with according to authorities. So that would not take long in the semiautomatic gun even if you were taking your time -- 15, 20 seconds, maybe something like that. Unless we get evidence to the contrary.

Then they say he came out the exit that we highlighted. Immediately encounters police out here on the street who apparently were just there already. And he went right back inside. That's when they say he changed the clip. He fired a few more shots in the theater and then right in this part of the theater he encountered more police officers who were now moving inside. That's when they say he shot himself in the head and took his life.

And so, you are right, Anderson. Probably a very short period of time for all these horrible events to unfold.

COOPER: Awful. Tom, appreciate the reporting, thanks.

Again, people were there last night to spend a couple hours not worrying about the problems of the world even minor ones, let alone what happened last night. Emily Mann was just steps away from the killer in the same row. No one should have to have to see what she saw or be burdened with such terrible memories now. We understand how hard this must be to talk about. She is joined by her father Randall.

I appreciate both of you taking the time to speak with us tonight.

Emily, first of all, how are you doing?

EMILY MANN, WITNESSES SHOOTING: I am OK. I could be a lot worse. So, I'm all right.

COOPER: You were in the same row as this shooter. Had you noticed this person at all?

[20:20:03] E. MANN: No. You know my friend and I got there a little bit late. At that point you try to be inconspicuous, just find a seat. So we saw a row, second to the top and there are a few empty seats. He and I sat, he was closest to the aisle. And then I sat. And there was a seat between me and a couple of girls. And then the shooter was on the other side of these girls. I'm not positive whether or not there were seats in between them. But I didn't see him initially.

COOPER: And Emily, did you, when you heard the first gunshot, did you know instantly what it was? I mean, it is so incongruous to obviously, you know, what you were there for?

E. MANN: Yes, well the first shot was -- alone in a sense that after the first shot a second or two passed where he didn't start shooting again. Maybe he was waiting to get the courage up again, I'm not sure. But after the first shot, you want to not think that's what it was. You make these crazy assumptions in your head of other things it could be. A kid that snuck in with a firecracker, could have been anything else.

But after the second shot began, he started to shoot pretty quickly in a semicircle down toward the room. And at that point, you know what it is. You know you have how to get out. And there is just an understanding in the room that, you just have to survive and help each other out. And I think that's what's special about the community that was in this room, is there was no pushing or walking over each other. I think there was just a camaraderie that this is happening to us. We don't know why right now. But we just have to help each other out.

COOPER: So how were you able to, to get out?

E. MANN: I actually got down to the ground pretty quickly. Just have an instinct, I think. He was standing, after the first shot it was back behind my shoulder a little bit. And saw he was standing. I saw the lights from the gun. Heard the noises. So I got down very quickly. There was a fear that you can't see what is happening but you just know, you know where the exit is. And in a sense you know that he knows where the exit is too. There is always a risk.

So I just started to make my way to the stairs and stay low. And that's when everybody at that point had started to do was just get down. It seemed like he was just going for the easiest targets. His hand was shaking. He was, obviously shooting very much at random. And so, at that point I just knew I had to make it down the stairs. I felt a shoe came off. I left my purse. And once I got to the end of the stairway, a woman pulled me around. And I got to my feet and started to run with everyone else.

COOPER: My God. And was the shooting constant, or was he saying anything?

E. MANN: I didn't hear him saying anything. There was a lot of screaming at that point. I was just silent. You don't really know what you are going to do in that situation.


E. MANN: So I didn't hear him say anything. I am not sure if he ever spoke. But I did, after the first shot there was a second or two where there wasn't another. People were just kind of silent. Just figuring out -- this can't be what this is. And after that, the following four or five shots were pretty quick. And you just heard them and you saw the light. And at that point, I was down on the ground.


And Randall, I know you, you live close to the movie theater. And Emily got home. And once you were sure she was OK, I understand you rushed to the theater to try to help. You, you are not a medic. You work, though, for the local ambulance company. What was the scene like there?

RANDALL MANN, DAUGHTER AS IN MOVIE THEATER: Right. Well, I -- we rushed back up for two reasons. I wanted to rush, because I know they were responding wanted to help out where I could. But also, her friend that was with us thought, you know, they saw the gunman and they thought maybe they needed a witness if they didn't know who it was. And so, we got back up there pretty quickly.

We got here. I heard sirens in the back ground. And there were three or four police cars here already. You know, not a whole lot. They were still going into the building. People were still exiting. And as Emily said even the whole theater was -- they were exiting in a pretty orderly manner. A few people were being carried out that were injured. We had two ambulances here. So I went to that scene. And we started triaging them and transporting them. But, you know, it was tremendous to see all of the local law enforcement arriving en masse and suiting up with assault rifles that were just scary to see in your own community. But they had such a professionalism and determination about them that it was really, really a comforting thing. The fact that people weren't screaming and panicking and helping each other out, was a little bit comforting as well.

COOPER: Yes. Well, as Emily said it speak a lot to the community that it is that people were helping each other out. And speaks a lot.

Randall, frankly to you, that you would rush to the scene to want to help and also to, you know, be a witness if that was need. And Emily, you know, I spoke to the head of the state police that it's important that this not change people's behavior. That you don't let this person alter your life in any way. That's something I know that's important to you as well.

[20:25:00] E. MANN: Yes, well I know - I mean, people from here, you know, instantaneously. This is a city that loves you back. How we have always been. You know we recently won happiest city in America. There is a reason for that. There is a love here. So I think we would never let somebody come here and threaten that. It could have been anywhere. It could have been anyone. He could have targeted anybody. And there wouldn't have been somebody we would let threaten what we have built here.

You know he said we are built, we are a community of people that were exiled from Nova Scotia. And that's who we are and we help each other.

R. MANN: Maybe just a way of coping. But one thing that made me feel a little bit better is that this is a drifter. He is not from here. He picked us at random. And it was totally a random act. And it wasn't somebody from Lafayette or (INAUDIBLE) killing other Lafayettians (ph). It was some nut case from away. And maybe that's just my own coping mechanism, but it helps.

COOPER: Yes, I can understand that. Well, Randall and Emily, thank you so much for talking with us. And I'm glad you are together and in the community which is caring for each other right now. Thank you so much.

E. MANN: Thank you.

R. MANN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Well with the city in mourning refusing to live in fear as you just hear. We are going to try to find answers next. I will talk to Dr. Drew Pinsky, and also criminologist James Allen Fox about the gunman's past. There were so many red flags over the years. Everyone now asking what if anything could have been done different to prevent this tragedy and maybe prevent another one down the road?


[20:30:36] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there have been prayer vigils already in Lafayette. Officials say counseling services are being set up. We're going to begin on Monday. The crime scene will be active all weekend, and so will the effort to find new and useful facts about the killer's motivation.

Joining us now is Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's "Dr. Drew", also Northeastern University criminology professor, James Alan Fox.

Dr. Drew, I mean, information about the shooter's criminal history, family history, mental health history -- what do you make of it?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Right. Well, I mean, there's a lot to be made of it. But the thing that jumps out, of course, so often when we're reporting on these stories, is how the system fails people and how the law enforcement system has become the mental health delivery.

COOPER: Right.

PINSKY: And how physicians are not empowered to use their instinct, use their clinical judgment to protect the community from individuals.

You had a piece where a sheriff said we have lots of guys walking around here look this. I thought, that is the most honest thing I've heard in a long time. That's absolutely true. Nothing we can do about it. They can get guns.

COOPER: Nothing we can do about it even down the road? I mean --

PINSKY: Well, empowering -- I think empowering physicians to be able to mandate certain kind of hospitalization or maybe reinstitute sort of chronic housing for people that should be in these sort of supervised apartments. Those are very complicated issue.

COOPER: Right.

PINSKY: And I don't think we're going to do anything about the guns unfortunately. I'm starting to realize that many times we reported these stories, we live in a world where there is guns everywhere. And there's not -- no one seems to want to do anything about it.

COOPER: Professor Fox, I mean, does this guy fit any pattern? I mean, he is far older than most mass killers, isn't he?

JAMES ALAN FOX, CRIMINOLOGIST, NORTHEASTERN UNIV.: Actually, there are many mass killers are in their 40s and 50s where they have a long history of frustration and failure, at work, in relationships, education. It's not just one thing that happens to set them off.

What I want to point out here, however is that there is a profile, certainly. But hundred of thousand of people will fit it. We can't go around and round up all the people who scare us, we are not going to go around and round up all the guns in America. That's not going to happen.

The problem is that these incidents. They are rare, is one of the prices that we have unfortunately paid for the freedom that we enjoy. These guys see themselves as victims. And in fact, if we are too aggressive in trying to identify them which is truly impossible except with hindsight, it can actually increase their sense of persecution. And may even precipitate the violent act we are trying to prevent.

COOPER: It's interesting you say you can't identify them except in hindsight, although clearly this guy's wife was concerned about his access to guns. She took guns away from him early on when he seemed to be having mental health issues. I mean, it seems like the family was aware and worried about threats he made and things like that.

FOX: Absolutely. And how many restraining orders are taken out each year? Hundreds of thousands.

COOPER: Right.

FOX: That's the problem. It is needle in haystacks. I'm not saying he is a well-adjusted person. And I'm not saying that he doesn't need help.

Let me also say within of the problems too is we linked mass murder with mental illness.

COOPER: Right.

PINSKY: Right.

FOX: Unfortunately increases the stigma.

PINSKY: Stigmatize it.

FOX: Why do we want to help the mentally ill because we care about them or we care about the people they are going to shoot? We should do it for the right reason.

COOPER: Dr. Drew?

PINSKY: I would say it is possible to do both. It is possible again if you empower people's clinical judgment. Maybe you need multiple people to sign off.

COOPER: The reason doctors don't have that ability is because there were so many abuses in the past of this?

PINSKY: That is exactly true. And the fact is there are potential for abuse in situations. I think the pendulum has gone too far the other way. I mean, this guy in my estimation probably had something relate to schizo-affective disorder. Something like that. And this is not to stigmatize people with that disorder. But there are people that are added risks. They're sort of schizoid, they're paranoid, they're agitated, and they're manic, and they're bipolar, and they refuse to take treatment.

He has been in the system. I'm sure there are people who could have pointed this out --


PINSKY: Why can't we at least, like we put that in some sort of. Listen, we have a way of alerting abut opiate pain medication. Why can't we have a system that alerts people about people who shouldn't have guns?

COOPER: Right. I mean, that is one of the interesting things, Professor Fox, because he wasn't convicted though he had been arrested multiple times nothing popped up when you do a background check for a weapon?

[20:35:00] FOX: Right. In fact, most mass murderers get their guns legally. Most mass murderers do not have conviction records. In fact, most mass murderers don't have a history of psychiatric treatment, private or committed. It's impossible to predict. Yes, the risk is much higher with someone look this, but something that's a hundred times close to zero is still a low number.

COSTELLO: Just briefly on this, you know one of the things I am a big believer in not using these people's names, we are using the photo right now just because the police are looking for more information about him.

You have written about this. Some, a lot of times these people want the attention that comes in the whack of this right?

FOX: Absolutely. It could be the theater shooting in Aurora and the trial is partially precipitated. But I should say that you have to be careful about re-enactments and digital animation that you had a few minutes ago. It makes it very dramatic to the viewer. I'm not sure what the value in that is?

COOPER: I mean, one counterargument to that is for people to know what to do -- for people to know how to act, actually that's one of the things we're going to talk to our next guest about. But to be continued.

James Alan Fox, I appreciate it.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, as well.

Two high school teachers wounded in the shooting likely helped save other people's lives because they had prepared for something like this. We're told. Their story, next.


COOPER: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called it a story of heroism. Two people wounded, high school teachers, Jena Meaux and Ali Martin. Two women who were out for what should have been a fun night on summer break. They were both shot, but both survived, one jumping in front of her friend to shield her. After being shot in the leg, one of the teachers pulled the fire alarm which Jindal said probably saved other people's lives.

The president of the local teachers union says she believes the training they got helped them not to panic. Training on how to deal with the chaos in a shooting is one thing. Living through it is obviously something else entirely. There are techniques that can be taught on how to try to survive.

Randi Kaye has a story.

[20:40:00] And a warning, even though these are training exercises, the videos may be disturbing to some viewers.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As disturbing as this looks, it's only a simulation. A training video designed to teach people how to respond to an active shooter threat.

No plan and experts say your chances of surviving drop dramatically.


KAYE (on camera): A training program known as ALICE was developed by a Dallas-Ft. Worth police officer whose wife was an elementary school principal. ALICE is the first training program of its kind that teaches proactive survival strategies. ALICE stands for "Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate".

(voice-over): The worst thing potential victims can do is wait to act.

SGT. A.J. DEANDREA, RESPONDED TO COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING: It's the hesitation. Not realizing what is actually happening and by failing to do that, there is a delayed response which would allow the perpetrator more time to commit the heinous act.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got a gun! He's got a gun out there!

KAYE: Once you are aware of the shooter alert others and call police if you're in a safe place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this 911? Everybody is screaming. 123 Smith Building. We're in the 123 Smith Building. Please hurry.

KAYE: Then go into lockdown. Silence all cell phones. Lock doors and barricade offices or classrooms. Get creative, experts say.

DEANDREA: If you tell some one to evacuate immediately, and maybe a gunman is in the hallway, that may induce harm.

KAYE: As more information comes in, inform law enforcement about injuries and location of the shooter. While waiting for police. Experts recommend finding a safe place to hide.

If police don't get there before the suspect gets dangerously close, counter the shooter. Take him down. Using anything you can grab.

And finally if you have an opening make a run for it. And evacuate, even if others don't go with you and leave your belongings behind. Also, remember to keep your hand up on the way out where officers can see them. So, they don't mistake you for the shooter.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Both Columbine High School shooting in 1999 that change so much, from school security, to police protocol, to the tone of the gun debate.

Dave Cullen is a journalist, author of the fascinating book, "Columbine", which I have read two times and seriously recommend this book. He joins me now.

So much has changed since Columbine. Police now they're trained, you don't form a perimeter or wait for a tactical unit. They go in, because most active shooter situations are revolved within minutes.

DAVE CULLEN, AUTHOR, "COLUMBINE": Right. And even before the cops get there, even now.

You know, I actually wondered with the shooting that we had last night it was so short. He didn't do that many shots. I wonder if he -- I thought, you know why didn't he unload more rounds? Maybe he is reacting to the fact that he knows they go in much more quickly, and to make his escape he didn't have much time.

COOPER: And he clearly wanted to make an escape. He tried at least.

CULLEN: Right, yes.

COOPER: What? People think, well, you just maybe try to hide. What would you do, knowing all you know about these situations?



CULLEN: There is, and I didn't see the full thing. I saw this afternoon, run, hide, fight. But it is definitely in that order. If you remember one thing, it's run. Those other things are only if the other ones don't work.

And really, it's run in the opposite direction of the gunfire, which is a little harder than it sound, because often in the chaos people are really confused and don't know where it is coming from and they responded to different things.

Like at Columbine, Frank DeAngelis, the principal, when he first ran into the hallway, big thing, covered in smoke, so he couldn't see much, the first big thing was what sounded like an explosion behind him. Because the gunmen were all the way down the hall, he was facing them, shot, hit the glass, trophy case behind it, that exploded.

That's really frequent you hear the sound of whatever the gunfire is hitting, the damage can be much more loud. So you think that's what's going on. It happens all the time, ricocheting all kind of reasons.

COOPER: One of the problems with hiding is, in schools some times people think they're safe underneath a desk. Actually, they're not.

CULLEN: Yes, you are a sitting duck. In fact there is a tragic thing -- I mean, it just makes me emotional remembering. In the Columbine report, one of the fallacies they have a list of many of the witnesses, or misconceptions, one was the belief that when they hid in "hid" in the library under tables, that they were hiding. They were in plain sight.

That's within of the things with hiding that -- if it is a real hiding place, you are a sitting duck, if the person comes by.

[20:45:00] But it better be a real hiding place and not just give you the feeling that you are hiding.

In Columbine, there were kids who stayed for hours in the cafeteria and you can see the video when the killers walk back downstairs about after a half an hour, some kids finally make a run for it when I believe Eric fires at the bombs trying to set them off. Dylan throws a Molotov cocktail and creates a big flame.

Then, one of the kids finally decide to make a run for it right in front of him. That kid had been sitting there for like an hour under the table with nothing going on. He could have made a run for it. But I think people didn't know at that time that running is by far your best option.

COOPER: And the bottom line, I mean, last option is fighting. That is important, with whatever you have.

CULLEN: Yes, yes. There is great stuff in there like the fire extinguisher, whatever you have. If the person is that close to you where -- you know, you're likely to die. OK.

COOPER: And certainly, if enough people rush somebody, then --

CULLEN: Exactly, you may overpower him. Or you may die in the process but save a lot of other people.

COOPER: Yes. Dave Cullen, again, the book is "Columbine". You have been on many times. I say this all the time. It is essential reading if you want to understand anything about active shooter situations.

So, thanks you for being with us.

CULLEN: I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.


Just ahead remembering the two women whose lives were cut short last night: musician and business owner Jillian Johnson, and college student Mayci Breaux. What we know about the lives they led and the lives they touched.


[20:50:14] COOPER: As we have had to say too many times in this program, after each latest school shooting attack, whether it's school or movie theater, we as always want our focus to stay on the people who should be remembered. Those whose lives were cut short and those whose actions in a terrifying situation helped save others.

The names of the women who were killed were Jillian and Mayci. Tonight, we remember them and we try to learn more about who they were.

CNN's Boris Sanchez reports.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is one of the last times Jillian Johnson would sing with her band.

The 33-year-old, one of two victims killed at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, when John Russell Houser opened fire on the crowd.

COLONEL MICHAEL EDMONTON, LOUISIANA STATE POLICE: We cannot lose sight of the fact that a 21-year-old and a 33-year-old beautiful young lady, lost their lives last night. They had a vision, they had a future. I said this earlier, they had a face, they had a name, and it wasn't to die in this theater.

SANCHEZ: In the aftermath of the deadly shooting, a clearer picture emerging of those affected by the violence.

Jillian Johnson ran a boutique with her husband and brother in Lafayette. Friends say she toughed people lives with her creativity.

Her band, The Figs, releasing this statement to CNN, quote, "Jillian made everything more beautiful. She worked to make Lafayette a more beautiful place. And one of the most tragic things that's ever happened here took her. She was a mother, a wife, a sister, an artist, a collaborator, a band member, a friend to so many. We are devastated", end quote.

Twenty-one-year-old Mayci Breaux, a former student at LSU, came to the movie with her boyfriend Matthew. Law enforcement officials tell CNN the couple sat in front of the shooter. Mayci died inside the theater, while Matthew remains at the hospital.

A family members says he's recovering, but struggling with what happened, saying, quote, "Although he's in a lot of pain now, it is nothing compared for the mental anguish he's going through. Their whole family is completely distraught about everything going on," end quote.

Doctors at Lafayette General Health where five of the injured, including Matthew, are being treated, reveal a connection to Mayci.

DR. DAVID CALLECOD, PRESIDENT, LAFAYETTE GENERAL: Mayci Breaux, one of the victims, actually is an X-ray student. She was scheduled to begin radiology school here at Lafayette General just in a few days. And so, this really, it hurts for our staff.

SANCHEZ: As for Houser's other victims, doctors say they are expected to make a full recovery.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Joining me is Christiaan Mader, one of Jillian Johnson's many friends.

Christiaan, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. Could you tell us about Jillian, what was she like?

CHRISTIAAN MADER, FRIEND OF JILLIAN JOHNSON (via telephone): Jillian was a very rambunctious person, the way I describe her. She was the sort of person if you ask her what she was up to, she'd give you a such long list of activities you would think to yourself -- OK, well, I don't get up early enough in the morning.

Jillian had a very wry sense of humor. Definitely the sort of person that was, I think fundamentally kind but the sort of person that you wouldn't want to end up on the wrong end of her wit. She was an active musician, artist, designer. She was very tall. You couldn't miss her in a crowd.

She had a way of rallying people around her. She had an entrepreneurial spirit. And was a very gregarious person to be around.

So, she was truly a remarkable human being in that regard. Somebody that I think we were all better for having known.

COOPER: And it seems like she not only did a lot of things, she did a lot of things very well.

MADER: Yes. I mean, to the extent that you would struggle to find something where you would say, OK, Jillian, I'm better than you at this thing that you and I both do. You would spend most of your days trying to do that. Pretty troubling. Yes.

COOPER: I read a piece that you wrote about her. You describe her in a way great. You said, she was a, quote, "turn of the century Louisiana politician reincarnated". Can you explain what you mean by that?

MADER: Jillian had a very (INAUDIBLE) about her, a unique way of being able to talk to people of all walks of life. I would argue that a lot of what she did artistically in town was fundamentally populist, which I mentioned in that piece. Kind of what I mean what she is known for, reinvigorating the creativity around Lafayette's culture.

We are known for being affiliated with Cajun music, Cajun food, focus on culture.

COOPER: Right.

MADER: And Jillian was the sort of person that could -- even though she wasn't born here -- sort of express that to anybody around her.

[20:55:02] And I guess what I mean that's like, even then, she had that kind of beautiful Southern drawl. It wasn't too thick. Just thick enough that she felt homey when you talk to her. But not too thick where you thought she was out to swindle you for something.

She was a wonderful person in that regard she could really speak to anybody, which is the sort of asset that you think about in Southern politics, your traditional Louisiana governor type.

COOPER: Right.

And it's interesting because she wasn't born in Lafayette, but you said she succeeded because she probably knew Lafayette better than anybody did?

MADER: I think that there is a degree to which anybody who comes into a town from an outsiders perspective. To be sure, you know, Jillian was an insider as far as anybody here was concerned.

But she did not grow up here. She as far as I know spent many, many, many, many, years. Some times it takes somebody to come here and sort of show a mirror to you, this is what you look like, this is what you are about, this is what makes you beautiful. And Jillian did that for us in terms of the way that she depicted the unique aspects of culture in Lafayette through her t-shirts, through her art work, through her music. Those were things that maybe, weren't as trendy before Jillian came around town.

COOPER: Well, it just sound like she -- you make her out to just sound like a remarkable person. And I appreciate you talking about her under these circumstances. Thank you so much.

MADER: It's my pleasure.

COOPER: We'll be right back.


COOPER: That does it for us. Thank you for watching.