Victims of Louisiana mass shooting remembered for pro-life stance, art & community contributions

by Sara Horn |

(REUTERS/Lee Celano)Worshippers pray during a Baptist church service for victims of the Thursday night shooting at a movie theater, in Lafayette, Louisiana, July 24, 2015. A 59-year-old man who had been committed to a hospital for psychiatric care was identified by authorities as the gunman who fatally shot two people in a rampage at a crowded movie theater in Lafayette before turning the gun on himself as police closed in.

LAFAYETTE, La. (Christian Examiner) -- Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson each had passions and dreams for the future before their lives were tragically ended during a mass shooting Thursday night at the Grand theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana that left nine wounded and three, including the shooter, dead.

Mayci Breaux

Breaux, 21, was an honor student at Louisiana State University at Eunice, studying to be a radiology technician while she worked part-time at a nearby clothing boutique. She was also a pro-life advocate.

Mayci Breaux, who was 21.

A 2013 article in the St. Mary and Franklin Banner-Tribune reported that as a senior at Hanson Memorial High School she was involved in Campus Ministry and prolife activities, and in 2011 she attended the Pro Life March with her classmates in Washington, D.C. She was voted "Most Beautiful" by her senior class and was an accomplished dancer, a graduate of Cam's Studio of Dance, where she'd taken lessons for 17 years.

Breaux's mother, Dondie Breaux, told the New York Daily News that her daughter had gone to see the movie "Trainwreck" with her high school sweetheart and longtime boyfriend, Matthew Rodriguez, who was also wounded in the shooting, but not critically.

When given the news no mother wants to hear, she "didn't want to believe it," Dondie Breaux told the DN. "I lost one of my best friends."

Ali Breaux, Mayci's younger sister, said that her sister had looked forward to marrying Rodriguez after she graduated from college in 2017 and that the couple had been content with their plan. "They never wanted to rush things," said Ali Breaux, 17. "They were just happy to be with each other."

Dondie Breaux will remember how happy her daughter was as a person. "She was just happy a lot," she said. "When she smiles, everybody smiles. She would do anything for anybody. We're not doing good at all."

Jillian Johnson

Jillian Johnson, 33

Jillian Johnson, 33, also killed in the Lafayette shooting, married her husband, Jason Brown in 2013, according to the website heavy.com. Johnson had a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and with her husband, opened their first store, Red Arrow Workshop, in Lafayette in 2012 and a second location on Magazine Street in New Orleans last fall. They were also regular vendors on the Louisiana flea market circuit.

Johnson was proud of her Louisiana roots, though she did spend some time in Nashville during her high school years. She was well known by friends and customers alike for the "Louisiana Power" banner she'd designed.

A profile of Johnson is featured on the website, be-you.us, and she is described as being at "the forefront of showcasing Acadiana cool to the world." When asked about the event responsible for shaping her life the most, Johnson answered, "I have had far too many character building experiences to credit just one with who I am today, though I am grateful for every friend, challenge, victory, and disappointment that has brought me to this point."