Employees, customers at La. gun store fired back at suspect in shooting that killed 3

Several people at a gun store in Louisiana returned fire and killed a gunman who had just shot and killed two people inside the shop, authorities said. 

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said three people died in the shootings, including the suspect, and that two others were hurt. 

The shooting happened just before 3 p.m. Saturday at the Jefferson Gun Outlet in the suburb of Metairie.

Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said a man initially shot two people inside, and then several other people — whether employees or store customers — opened fire on the shooter, both inside and outside of the building. 

A windshield is covered in bullet holes outside the Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie, La., where three people were killed and two others hurt in a shooting. Image source: WVUE

Lopinto said two other people also were hit in the gunfire and were hospitalized in stable condition. He said there were multiple shooters.

"We’re trying to put it all together," he said during a short briefing with journalists.

Authorities haven’t said yet why the shooting happened. None of the victims have been identified. 

RELATED: 3 dead, 2 others hurt in shooting at Louisiana gun store

Tyrone Russell and Wanetta Joseph were both in a conceal-and-carry course at the store when they heard what they both described as rapid firing. They said the gunfire sounded much louder than the usual muffled shooting that they are used to hearing inside the shooting range.

"We heard the gunshots and the screaming," said Russell. "When the police came, they escorted us out. I could see glass everywhere … It was just like a really scary scene."

Crime scene tape blocks off the Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie, La., where three people were killed and two others hurt in a shooting Feb. 20, 2021. Image source: WVUE

"It got extremely loud, like a bomb almost," said Joseph, who hid with other students under a table — not knowing if there were multiple shooters or if one was near the classroom. One instructor stayed with the students while two others left the room and headed toward the sound of gunfire.

Russell said that when he was led out, he could see a guy "laid out" in the parking lot not far from his car, which was struck by bullets. He described seeing shattered glass, bullet casings strewn about the store.

Caution tape surrounded the business to keep onlookers from getting close to the scene, where ambulances and numerous law enforcement vehicles had converged. A neighboring Taco Bell eatery was evacuated.

Metairie is a major suburb of New Orleans, about 5 miles west of the city's iconic French Quarter, in the neighboring jurisdiction of Jefferson Parish.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.