After killings, should movie theaters screen for safety?

After killings, should movie theaters screen for safety?
Published: Jul. 24, 2015 at 9:43 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2015 at 10:29 PM EDT
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Tamara Anderson (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Tamara Anderson (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jeanie King (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jeanie King (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Loren Wierich (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Loren Wierich (Source: WAVE 3 News)
John Russell Houser (Source: WAVE 3 News)
John Russell Houser (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Word two people were shot and killed and nine others were wounded by bullets in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana had not reached Tamara Anderson Thursday evening while she was working night-shift in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

"Had I known that, I probably would have stayed home, just to be safe," Anderson said, as she left  the Regal Cinema River Falls 12 in Clarksville early Friday afternoon.

She and her grandson had just seen "Pixels."

[RELATED: Theater gunman known as angry man with radical views]

As of Friday evening, Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal Entertainment Group had not commented publicly about the Louisiana shootings. Neither had Columbus, Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas, owner of a number of multiple-screen theater complexes in Kentucky and southern Indiana.
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But some security measures are obvious at Regal-River Falls; Rooftop cameras trained on the parking lot. Side exit doors are closed, with no handles to open them from the outside.

Apex Entertainment, LLC, the Louisville-based owner of Village 8 Theaters in St. Matthews and Baxter Avenue Filmworks in the Highlands, also declined comment on camera Friday. But a manager confirmed security measures added after the deadly shootings in a theater in Aurora, Colorado remain in place.

[RELATED: No warning as drifter with violent past opened fire at movie]

Backpacks are banned, exit doors are not to be propped open, staff are instructed to be vigilant for suspicious behavior and off-duty police officers are on site weekend nights.

Lafayette's shootings gave pause to Louisville's Jeanie King, who took in a matinee at Village 8 Friday. But they won't keep her out of the theater.

"There are larger, huge systemic issues to address, but we won't go there," King said. "I don't feel like the theaters need to do anything different."

[MORE: Aurora theater killings found worthy of death penalty, trial moves to Phase 2]

Police said the shooting suspect, 59-year-old John Russell Houser, shot and killed himself rather than be taken into custody. A search of his car and hotel room revealed wigs and disguises. His car was parked near one of the theater's exit doors. But a review of video from security cameras in the theater's lobby indicates Houser did little to attract attention prior to the shootings, 20 minutes into the screening of the comedy "Trainwreck."

Jeffersonville's Loren Wierich believes Louisiana and Indiana are different states, of mind.

"I believe it's pretty safe around here," Wierich said, prior to entering River Falls 12 Friday. "Everybody here watches out for each other  and I don't think we're in any danger here."

Anderson said she would feel safer if she and other patrons had to pass through metal detectors.

"If you go into a movie theater and know they're gonna search you, maybe you won't try," she said. "You know they search you when you go in the courthouse. I don't see a difference."

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