Louisiana theater shooting suspect had degree from Montgomery law school
ALABAMA (WAFF) - Lafayette, LA police identified the suspect in Thursday night's movie theater shooting, saying the man is from Phenix City in southeast Alabama
The suspect is 59-year-old John Russell Houser, who was described by police as "kind of a drifter." Three people, including the gunman were killed in the shooting. Police confirmed the identities of the victims killed as 21-year-old Macy Breaux and 33-year-old Jillian Johnson.
Breaux was found dead at the scene and Johnson died at the hospital. Nine others were taken to the hospital. Of those nine, two were released and one is in critical condition. The wounded ranged in age from their late teens to their late 60s.
The shooting happened at around 7:30 p.m. at the Grand 16 Theater about 20 minutes into the showing of the movie Trainwreck.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said Houser had a criminal background. Houser had a previous arson arrest and a misdemeanor for selling alcohol to a minor. They also said he seemed to be estranged from his family.
Craft said Houser parked his blue 1995 Lincoln Continental outside the theater before the shooting. and used a .40-caliber handgun
"It is apparent that he was intent on shooting and then escaping," Craft said. "What happened is the quick law enforcement actions forced him back into the theater, at which time he shot himself."
Faulkner University said in a release Friday that Houser was a 1998 graduate of the Jones School of Law, prior to the law school receiving ABA accreditation.
The wife and other family members of the Louisiana theater gunman asked for a temporary protective order in 2008 against the man.
Court documents seeking the order said John Houser, "exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements."
The documents said even though he lived in Phenix City, he had come to Carroll County, GA, where they lived and "perpetrated various acts of family violence."
Houser "has a history of mental health issues, i.e., manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder" the filing said.
The filing says Houser's wife, Kellie Maddox Houser, "has become so worried about the defendant's volatile mental state that she has removed all guns and/or weapons from their marital residence."
The protection order was at least temporarily granted.
She filed for divorce in March.
"We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker," Katie Domingue told The Daily Advertiser.
"He wasn't saying anything. I didn't hear anybody screaming either," said Domingue, who added that she heard about six shots before she and her fiance ran to the nearest exit, leaving behind her shoes and purse.
Lafayette Police Department said Houser had been staying in a room at the Motel 6 on North University Avenue in Lafayette since the beginning of July with no ties to the Lafayette are. Craft said they found wigs, glasses, and other disguises in Houser's hotel room.
The Associated Press reports Houser had been in the Lafayette area since July.
Police said about 100 people were in the theater at the time of the shooting.
WAFB reported a GoFundMe account was set up for two teachers injured in the shooting. They have been dubbed "heroic teachers."
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said:
"A couple of teachers were in the theater, both of them were shot," said Jindal. "One of them was released tonight. Her friend literally jumped over her and, in her account, actually saved her life. If she hadn't done that, the fellow teacher got shot, she believed that bullet would have hit her in the head. Now both teachers ended up shot. The second one, the one whose life was saved, even though she was shot in the leg she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm to help save other lives."
Trainwreck star Amy Schumer tweeted: "My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana." The comedy stars Schumer as a magazine writer who decides to live a life of promiscuity after her father convinces her that monogamy isn't realistic, but in spite of her best efforts, finds herself falling in love with one of her interview subjects.
Monday marked the anniversary of the Aurora, CO theater shooting. The same day as the Louisiana shooting, a jury decided unanimously that the Colorado attack was cruel enough to justify the death penalty for shooter James Holmes.
ALEA issued a statement on the shooting:
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is assisting Louisiana and Federal authorities as they investigate the shooting incident that occurred Thursday, July 23, in Lafayette, La. Since ALEA is not the lead agency and is only assisting in this ongoing investigation, the agency will not comment on specific details, but Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier said, "ALEA is committed to providing law enforcement and investigative support to our Federal partners and Louisiana counterparts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the community affected by this senseless act."
Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.