The couple had been sitting in the front row of the upper level of the theater watching the beginning of "Trainwreck." Just a few minutes into the show, they said, all hell broke loose.
A lone gunman, John Hauser, stood up and began firing shots.
One year later, the eldest survivors, Bo, a Lafayette resident for more than 50 years, and his wife Jerry, a lifelong native of the Hub City, recalled the horror they said lasted only minutes.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Advertiser, Bo and Jerry Ramsay recalled the events of July 23, 2015.
A night out turns tragic
It began as an ordinary summer night in Lafayette.
The Ramsays were driving down Doucet Road, which runs alongside the theater, when Jerry asked her husband to stop and see what time the next movie was playing. Jerry was an avid movie fan who loved going to the show.
“I love the movies,” she said. “I love to get popcorn and a coke.”
"I let her out and we looked at what was playing and that was where we ended up,” Bo recalled, “not knowing what the movie was. Within the first 30 seconds, I turned to Jerry and I asked, ‘what kind of movie is this?' ”
Seconds later, loud shots pierced the room.
According to Bo, Houser rose up and went across the aisle and fired one shot at a young woman. He then fired three to five more shots at another patron.
Bo, who served in the Army and fought in the Korean War, knew immediately what he was hearing.
He stood up and faced the gunman, then started toward him.
“That’s when he finished his magazine into me,” Bo recalled. “Then I was on the floor bleeding, and I was thinking, 'What the hell is going on?' I’d been in combat before, it was like something out of the past.”
Bo was shot seven times. He was hit in the arm and in his legs and stomach.
Jerry, meanwhile, had been shot in the hand between her thumb and forefinger. She said she felt pain, but was more concerned about Bo, who was fading in and out of consciousness.
“Bo was on the floor bleeding,” she recalled. “He said 'Get out, run.' And I said 'No. I’m not going to run.' I just remember someone yelling “he (the gunman) is trying to get out. And then someone yelled, ‘He is reloading!’ We just stayed down. I said, ‘I’m not leaving you.’ ”
Bo said Houser did come back and passed right by them. He believes the gunman was heading back for more ammunition near his seat. Both said they were afraid he would come back to finish them off.
After a confrontation with police, Houser killed himself. The shooting was over, but the nightmare had just begun.
Bo remembers a detective coming to help him onto a stretcher. Jerry doesn’t remember much of what happened.
For Bo however, much of that night is still pretty clear in his mind. He knows what kind of bullets tore into him.
“They were steel point bullets,” Bo said. Had they been a different kind, he probably would be dead now.
“A hollow point bullet blows a hole out the back. A steel point, or armor piercing bullet, goes straight through. I think that’s what saved my life. If it had been hollow point bullets, I wouldn’t be here today.”
On the mend
In the year after the July 23 tragedy, the Ramsays have been asked numerous times to discuss the ordeal. They have refused all interviews, saying they did not want to add to the misery.
These days, the couple said they try not to think too much about what happened.
They both bear the scars from their injuries and there is still some pain. Bo wears a brace on his left hand to keep his fingers straight and said he has no feeling in that hand and where there is severe nerve damage.
He said although he can't play golf anymore, he is right-handed so, fortunately, he can write and eat and do other necessary things for himself.
Jerry said she is numb in the area where she was shot, but other than that, has no real problems.
“I feel healthy,” she said. "No complaints. “I just pray for his (Houser) soul. He was a sick soul. I just remember a body on the floor.”
Many have said the couple’s recovery, specifically Bo Ramsay's, has been nothing short of miraculous. They marvel that an 88-year-old man could survive being shot seven times.
The couple gives much credit to doctors and staff at Lafayette General Medical Center for their physical healing. But they also credit the counseling sessions they attended with other survivors for their emotional recovery.
They went to meetings with about 20 people, some of whom had not fared so well.
“Some of the younger girls were really traumatized,” Jerry said.
“I didn’t want to go to the theater for quite a while,” added Bo. “I got up and moved one time. There was a guy sitting there alone, right behind me. I don’t want anyone one sitting behind me.”
Jerry has mixed feelings about all of it. She said she rarely worries about such things and, in fact, has been back to the theater a couple of times with her husband.
“I’m not going to stop going to the movies,” she said. “I believe God protects me.”
The Ramsays believe the tragedy has changed the way people in Lafayette look at the world around them. They believe it has made people here more aware of the criminal element.
But both say they would never live anywhere else, and they refuse to live in fear.
What is rather surprising though, is what Bo Ramsay thinks about Houser, the man who killed three people, including himself, and wounded nine others.
"I forgave the guy when I was on the theater floor," Bo said. "I didn’t want to bear the burden of hate. You just have to put it in the back of your mind. And try not to reflect on it."