After mass shooter stopped by armed staff inside a gun shop, his family claims he was murdered


METAIRIE, LA — Good guys with guns were able to minimize the carnage that resulted from a mass shooter who murdered two people before he was fatally shot by armed employees of a gun shop.

Now the shooter’s family is reportedly claiming he was murdered.

On Saturday around 2:50 p.m., the suspect, Joshua Jamal Williams, 27, entered the Jefferson Gun Outlet shop to purchase ammunition. He was accompanied by his brother, Timothy Williams, and two children. The gun shop also houses a firing range.

Williams was carrying a pistol with an extended magazine so staff asked him to unload his unholstered, loaded weapon or return it to his vehicle, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and several news reports.

Williams “refused multiple times” to unload his weapon and became agitated. He walked back toward the front door and fired a warning round outside. He re-entered the store and killed a customer and then a store employee before he was fatally shot by armed employees. 

Initial reports indicated armed customers may have also fired their weapons at Williams, but Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto confirmed in a Feb. 22 press release that there were eight shooters, which included the suspect and seven store employees:

“Over the course of the last 48 hours, JPSO investigators have collected over 200 pieces of evidence from the scene, recovered a total of 10 firearms, taken almost 3000 photographs, and conducted over two dozen interviews.

“Our investigation to this point has led us to several facts and allowed us to develop the sequence of events that transpired during the incident.

“There were 3 deaths … and 8 shooters in total during the incident: The suspect, Joshua Williams, and 7 store employees. No customers fired any weapons during the incident.

“All 8 firearms used during the incident were recovered, along with 2 additional firearms from the vehicle operated by Joshua Williams.”

The statement indicated that it was not yet determined which firearm killed Williams.

The shooting victims were identified as store employee Herbert “Noah” Fischbach, 47, and customer Veronica Billiot, 59.

Fischbach, an employee of the store who was married for more than a decade and was a father to a teenage son, died after the deadly shootout, according to his wife, Nancy Fischbach.

In an interview with Nola News, a grieving Nancy confirmed between sobs that it was her husband who had died during the shooting that started inside the store and ended in the parking lot:

“He was amazing. Words can’t describe the person he was. He was so genuine, so real, so true. He was my soulmate.”

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Ironically, Billiot was at the gun shop to pick up a gun she purchased for protection, her sister, Linda Billiot, told Veronica took the place of the mother in her family, her sister said.

Their mother was “not in the picture,” and so she stepped in as the oldest sister to take care of her younger siblings. Linda said:

“She was a very giving person — she looked after her two younger sisters, that’s what she did. She always made sure we had everything we needed, that she was there to support us for everything.”

FOX 8 News obtained surveillance footage from inside the gun shop and showed some portions of it, including Williams shooting outside the door and then pointing the gun at others.

Sheriff  Lopinto said two employees were hit by gunfire and were hospitalized in stable condition. One was shot in the leg, and the other in the arm.

A woman on social media, who claimed she was Williams’ mother, allegedly posted a message saying that her son did not go in shooting and that he was actually fired at by employees, according to NOLA News.

The woman identified herself as Trudy Edwards and posted, “He was MURDERED,” according to Nola News.

Michael Mayer, an executive at the gun shop, said he had to limit his comments because the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and other officials were still conducting investigations, but he released a brief emailed statement to Nola News prior to Sheriff Lopinto’s release:

“What I can say, is that our store was attacked by Joshua Williams on 2/20 around 3 p.m. He walked in our store and was asked by our 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. Our armed and trained employees, as well as some armed, permitted customers, returned fire and eliminated the threat.

“One customer as well as one employee perished in the gun battle. Joshua Williams, the gunman, is also dead.”

Tyrone Russell and Wanetta Joseph were both in a conceal-and-carry course at the store when they heard what they both described as rapid firing.

They told Associated Press that the gunfire sounded much louder than the usual muffled shooting that they are used to hearing inside the shooting range.

Russell said:

“We heard the gunshots and the screaming. When the police came, they escorted us out. I could see glass everywhere … it was just like a really scary scene.”

Joseph hid with other students under a table and did not know if there were multiple shooters or if one was near their classroom. He said:

“It got extremely loud, like a bomb almost.”

One instructor stayed with the students while two others left the room and headed toward the sound of gunfire.

Russell said that when he was led out, he could see a guy “laid out” in the parking lot not far from his car, which was struck by bullets. He described seeing shattered glass and bullet casings strewn about the store.

The death toll may have been higher if it was not for the quick-thinking employees of the gun shop who ended the carnage before police arrived.

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