Only on People.com

'They Saved So Many Lives' Says Friend of Heroic Teachers in Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting

Trainwreck Shooting: Heroic Teachers Saved Lives
Allister Viator Martin and Jena Legnon Meaux
Cammie Maturin

07/24/2015 AT 04:55 PM EDT

When Cammie Maturin heard that her two friends saved numerous lives after a gunman opened fire during a screening of the movie Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Thursday, she was far from surprised.

"They're two people who would go above and beyond for anyone," Maturin tells PEOPLE about Jena Meaux and Allister Viator Martin. "No one can prepare for something like this, but I'm sure they were calm and focused. They have been trained for this."

The gunman, John Russell Houser, 59, took his own life after killing two people and injuring nine around 7:30 p.m.

Meaux and Martin from New Iberia, Louisiana, weren't just colleagues – they were great friends.

'They Saved So Many Lives' Says Friend of Heroic Teachers in Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting| Death, Personal Tragedy, Shootings, True Crime, Good Deeds, Real People Stories

Jena Legnon Meaux and Allister Viator Martin

Cammie Maturin



"They were very close and would do everything together," says Maturin, 38, who used to teach with both women. "At school they helped out with graduation, homecoming, you name it. They went together like peas and carrots."

Maturin says "it's something they would totally do" when she was told that one jumped in front of the other to shield her during the shooting, while the other was able to pull the fire alarm.

"Even though authorities haven't said it, Jena's sister posted on Facebook that she pulled the alarm. It makes sense because Jena is much taller. They both knew what they had to do," she says.

"Her friend literally jumped over her and, in her account, actually saved her life," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said at a press conference, according to ABC News. "If she hadn't done that ... that bullet, she believed it would have hit her in the head."

Both teachers had been shot when one pulled the alarm.

According to Maturin, Jena is a mother of two young boys.

She set up a GoFundMe page for both women. She also wants to set up accounts for other victims.

"They saved so many lives," she says. "Everyone is coming together. I know they will bounce back even though it will take a while. They're so strong and will have a new sense of what life is all about."



Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners