A New Orleans man fatally shot at least one person at a gun range after being told to unload his weapon since he wasn’t yet in a shooting booth, according to a report.
Joshua Jamal Williams, 27, sparked Saturday’s shooting rampage that ultimately left three dead — including Williams — and two others wounded at the Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie when he brought a pistol with an extended magazine into the gun range, several law enforcement sources told NOLA.com.
Investigators reportedly believe the enraged customer fired a warning round into the ceiling before shooting 47-year-old clerk Herbert “Noah” Fischbach during an argument over the safety protocol.
Williams and Veronica Billiot — a 59-year-old woman who went to the shop to pick up a gun she previously bought for protection — was then killed as armed employees and customers inside the shop returned fire, sources told the outlet.
It is unclear who fired the shot that killed Billiot. Investigators were still probing Sunday who gunned down both Williams and Billiot, NOLA.com reported.
Williams was killed in a parking lot outside the gun range, while Billiot succumbed to her injuries just inside its front entrance. Two other people were also wounded, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
“At this time, it appears a suspect shot 2 victims inside the location, then was engaged and shot outside the location by multiple other individuals,” department officials said late Saturday. “The suspect is one of the deceased on scene.”
A coroner identified Williams, Fischbach and Billiot as the three victims early Sunday, NOLA.com reported.
“She was completely innocent,” Billiot’s sister, Linda, told the outlet, adding that her older sister “had no clue whatsoever” about Williams’ alleged gripe when gunfire broke out.
Linda Billiot said Veronica’s son was particularly distraught by her death since she had gone to the range to pick up a gun she previously ordered for self-protection.
“It’s shocking – I’m not processing it,” Linda Billiot said. “I haven’t slept since I learned what happened.”
An executive at the store, meanwhile, identified Williams as the gunman who opened fire at the business outside New Orleans.
“Our store was attacked by Joshua Williams,” Jefferson Gun Outlet principal Michael Mayer told NOLA.com. “One customer as well as one employee perished in the [ensuing] gun battle. Joshua Williiams, the gunman, is also dead.”
A relative of Williams who declined to be identified told NOLA.com that he went to the gun range with his brother and some children.
A woman who said she was Williams’ mother, Trudy Edwards, claimed on Facebook that her son did not “go into that gun range shooting” and insisted he was murdered, NOLA.com reported.
The post was no longer visible on Edwards Facebook page early Monday.