Theater Victims: Promising Student and 'Creative Force'

Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33, died in Lafayette, La., attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 24, 2015 2:15 PM CDT
Theater Victims: Promising Student and 'Creative Force'
Authorities park at the scene today of last night's shooting at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette, La.   (Denny Culbert)

One was a popular student studying to be a radiology technician, while the other was an outgoing artist who ran retail boutiques in two Louisiana cities. The two people slain by a gunman who opened fire yesterday in a Louisiana movie theater, Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, had promising careers and the love of friends and family. "They had a face, they had a name. They had a future. It wasn't to die in this theater," says Col. Michael Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police. Breaux, 21, was in the first year of an associate's degree program for medical radiology technicians at Louisiana State University-Eunice. The head of the program describes her as a sweet, generous person who was always polite and professional. "She was the kind of person you want in your program," says Robert McLaughlin. "She had a lot of potential."

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Johnson was remembered as an all-around "creative force" who ran clothing and art boutiques with her husband, played in a rootsy rock band, helped organize a music festival, and used her design skills on T-shirts and other crafts. Her stores' website said she was "obsessed" with Fats Waller, Tina Turner, and John Steinbeck and that her favorite movie was "Coal Miner's Daughter." A neighbor also says that Johnson planted fruit trees throughout the neighborhood so her neighbors and people heading to a nearby homeless shelter could stop for snacks. "She was trying to beautify the neighborhood, uplift the people around here to take care of their homes," he says. "I just can't believe this." (The gunman has a history of dangerous behavior.)

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