METAIRIE, La. — A gunman opened fire at a combination gun store and indoor firing range near New Orleans on Saturday, killing two people before others returned fire, killing him, the authorities said.
Two other people were injured and in stable condition after the shooting at the Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie, La., the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
The office said the shooting happened just before 3 p.m. when a gunman fatally shot two people — a man and a woman — inside the store. The gunman was then shot and killed by people either inside the store or in the parking lot outside, said Joseph P. Lopinto, the sheriff for Jefferson Parish.
“I have multiple shooters here at this location that were either customers, employees or individuals here at the location itself, and we’re trying to put it all together and piece it together with what we have in this developing scene,” Sheriff Lopinto said at a news conference.
The sheriff’s office said it was investigating what might have set off the initial shooting. The names of the three people who were killed were not released. Outside the store on Saturday, several people were hugging and crying.
John Fischbach said his son, Noah, 47, who worked at the store, had been killed in the shooting. He said his son had also worked with props and special effects in the film industry, using his knowledge of firearms.
“He was a great kid, and everybody loves him,” Mr. Fishbach said.
Michael Mayer, an executive at the Jefferson Gun Outlet, said the store was attacked by a man who had walked inside and been asked by the store’s compliance officer to unload his firearm before entering.
“He became agitated by the request and pulled his gun out of his pants and started firing,” Mr. Mayer said in an email. “Our armed and trained employees, as well as some armed permitted customers, returned fire and eliminated the threat.”
Tyrone Russell, 21, said he had been taking a class in the store in the hopes of getting his concealed carry permit when the shooting happened.
“All of a sudden, all I hear is a whole lot of gunshots,” which he said he had initially assumed were coming from the indoor firing range.
He said staff members had told the students to go into a corner, “and everybody started panicking.”
Two instructors ran out of the class to see what was going on, and he heard one of them scream: “Get down! Put the gun down!” That was followed by more gunshots, he said.
“It was like a real shootout,” Mr. Russell said. “That’s what it sounded like when I was inside, like the whole ground is rocking.”
Mr. Russell said he had feared that the gunman might come into the classroom and open fire. But the police arrived quickly and escorted the students downstairs and out of the building, he said.
Mr. Russell said that his car had been “shot up” and that he had seen the gunman on the ground, next to his car.
Bob Jean, the owner of the nearby Airline Skate Center, described the Jefferson Gun Outlet as a “very nice, clean place” and said that his skating rink had not had to lock down after the shooting. “The cops got everything under control,” he said.
Louisiana has reported the nation’s highest murder rate for 31 straight years. But Mr. Jean said the shooting was as anomaly in that section of Metairie, which is just outside New Orleans.
“We have very little crime in this entire area,” Mr. Jean said. “This is the first incident. It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately.”
The Jefferson Gun Outlet says on its website that it features an indoor shooting range with 14 lanes and a retail store with hundreds of firearms, as well as a large selection of shooting accessories, personal defense items and reloading supplies.