Three people, including the gunman, have died in a shooting in Metairie, Louisiana in Jefferson Parish at the Jefferson Gun Outlet, the sheriff said. The alleged shooter was identified as Joshua Jamal Williams.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says the shooting scene, in the 6700 block of Airline Drive, remained active in the hours after the shooting Saturday, February 20, 2021. The shooting occurred at the Jefferson Gun Outlet at 6719 Airline Drive, which is located near Taco Bell, officials said. Metarie is a suburb of New Orleans.
An additional two people were injured, and they were listed in stable condition at local hospitals shortly after the shooting. The gun outlet’s website explicitly states that anyone entering the facility with a gun must have it “unloaded, holstered or boxed and safe.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Officials Said A Williams Fired Shots After He Was Asked to Unload His Gun at Jefferson Gun Outlet
Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said deputies were dispatched shortly before 3 p.m. to the Jefferson Gun Outlet for a report of a shooting. There, they found five people with gunshot wounds. Three of those people were pronounced dead at the scene, which officials said included the shooter, and two additional victims were injured and transported to a local hospital. The hospitalized victims are in stable condition.
Lopinto said the suspect is one of the people who died.
“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,” Lopinto said. “The suspect is one of the deceased on the scene.”
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JSPO) told WDSU that a man entered the Jefferson Gun Outlet with a loaded gun that was not holstered. He was told he could not have a loaded gun until he was within the range. The gunman fired shots, and was then shot outside the shop, the sheriff said.
2. Lopinto Told Reporters Deputies Were Working to ‘Piece Together’ a Complicated Scene
Lopinto told reporters in a press conference that there was one “initial shooter” on the scene, who shot two people inside. Both of those people died. Officials believe several people “engaged” the suspect either inside or outside in the parking lot. Two additional people were shot outside, and survived.
This is a developing scene. I will be brief on what I can give you at the time. We had one initial shooter at the scene, who hit two victims inside the location. Both of them have been pronounced deceased here at this location.
It appears several individuals engaged the original suspect, whether inside the location or out here in the parking lot. We have a total of three deceased including the two that were inside. Out here on the scene itself, we have two additional that were hit by gunfire and were transported to University Hospital where I am told they are in stable condition at this point in time.
From what I understand I have multiple shooters at this location that were either customers, employees or individuals here at the location itself and we are trying to put it all together and piece it together from what we have in this developing scene.
3. Jefferson Gun Outlet, Located in a New Orleans Suburb, Includes Both a Gun Shop & Shooting Range
Jefferson Gun Outlet is a location that hosts both a shooting range and gun sales. Customers can also rent machine guns at the location. There are 14 shooting lanes at the shop and shooting range.
“Jefferson Gun Outlet is a full-service retail firearms store specializing in a large selection of self-defense pistols, shotguns, and rifles,” the shop’s Facebook page says. “We have a variety of reloading supplies, holsters, and accessories to satisfy the most discriminating shopping list. In addition to our retail operations, Jefferson Gun offers law enforcement officer, agency, and contract sales for Glock, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, and Rock River. We also have a 14 lane shooting range on site with full-auto machine gun rentals available.”
The rentals also include “themed” shooting experiences, the gun outlet’s website says.
The website clearly states that anyone entering the facility with a gun must be carrying it safely.
“If you are arriving with a firearm, it must be unloaded, holstered or boxed, and safe,” the website says. “Violators will be asked to promptly leave the facility. Also, our range is for PISTOL CALIBER AMMUNITION/WEAPONS ONLY! We do not offer lanes for non-pistol caliber rifles or shotguns. Rifle Caliber Firearms that are not owned by Jefferson Indoor Range are not allowed in the facility. Jefferson Indoor Range reserves the right to refuse service to anyone at anytime for any reason.”
4. Video From the Scene Shows a Slew of Police Vehicles Outside Jefferson Gun Outlet
Reporter Shay O’Connor shared a video from the scene.
“Here at the scene of where JPSO says multiple shootings just took place here at the Jefferson Gun Outlet. At least one dead,” she wrote on Twitter. “We are working to find out details on the situation. Watch @wdsu at 5P.”
Nola.com described the shooting scene:
Two shields, typically used to block the view of bodies, were set up in the parking lot. A person’s motionless hand was visible at the edge, and a pistol with an extended magazine lay nearby on the ground. In a folding chair about 15 feet away sat a woman crying, ‘Josh, this is Momma. I love you.’
5. Twitter Users Responded With Shock to the Shooting Near at Jefferson Gun Outlet
Twitter users were shocked about the shooting and reacted with dismay at the news.
“Shocked. Utterly shocked,” one person wrote on Twitter in response to the shooting.
Another person wrote that they used to live in the area.
“There’s been a mass shooting at a gun rage in Metairie, near where I used to live,” she wrote. “Multiple deaths reported. Holys***.”