LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - Media from across the country converged on the city of Lafayette as detectives, aid workers and the Cajun community tried to grasp why and how a movie theater so many enjoyed had suddenly turned into a scene out of a horror movie.
Just steps away from the crime scene tape stretched across the parking lot, small symbols of support for the victims, 21-year-old Mayci Breaux and 33-year-old Jillian Johnson, and others impacted by what police are describing as a random act of violence began to surface.
"I'm going to miss her a lot," said Piper Naudin.
Naudin and her mother Jan Risher were two of dozens of people who stopped by Johnson's store, Red Arrow, to lay letters of support and flowers at the door that connected so many of them to Johnson.
"I'm not surprised. I think it will only grow and I think that she... It's just impossible to imagine life without her," Risher.
Risher described the 33-year-old designer as a creative spirit, who gave so much and never knew a stranger.
"When the tsunami happened in Japan, we decided to make a Senbazuru, which is a 1,000 paper cranes, and Jillian called and said 'Can I bring some?'" said Risher.
Perhaps that's why so many people felt drawn to her.
"People who don't even know her instantly feel empathy for her and they want to show their support," Christina Cummins.
Even young children who remember visiting her store are struggling to understand why a stranger to their community would do something so cruel.
"I don't know why that would happen. I don't know why he would come all the way from Alabama and do this," said Mason Matthews.
Just being near a place that Jillian poured her heart into, gave many of them the comfort they needed Friday.
"We just wanted to support our community. That's all. We need to all come together and pray. It's a time of prayer for everyone right now," said Keith Matthews.