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Latest Developments in the Lafayette Movie Theater Shootings
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Facts about the shooter and the victims in Thursday’s movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana are beginning to emerge.

Summary: Facts about the shooter and the victims in Thursday’s movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana are beginning to emerge.

On Thursday, a gunman started shooting inside a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing two and injuring seven more. reports the most recent developments in this tragic case.


The two individuals killed were 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux, who were at the theater to see the movie “Trainwreck.” Breaux was set to start radiology school in the near future, and Johnson was heavily involved in the Lafayette community, according to NBC News.

The gunman was 59-year-old John Russel Houser.

According to the Louisiana State Police, items left inside the theater were being carefully examined. A dog alerted to a backpack and a few other items inside the theater.

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It is believed that the gunman stood inside the theater, opened fire with a semi-automatic .40-caliber handgun, and, as moviegoers ran out of the theater, he exited as well. His car was parked near the theater’s exit. It is believed that he fired a handgun 13 times. At that point, he turned around against the crowd, returned into the theater, and fired one more time, killing himself. Police Chief Jim Craft said, “It looks like he spotted the officers coming in and he turned around and he went against the crowd, and he fired a single gunshot. He was seated in the theater just like everybody else.” The gunman had planned to quickly escape the scene, but could not because police arrived so quickly.

The verdict in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting was recently handed down.

A teacher who was in the theater as well pulled the fire alarm, which prompted the evacuation of the theater and the quick arrival of the police.

Of the wounded, at least one is in critical condition and had to undergo surgery shortly after the shootings.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the shootings while aboard Air Force One by his homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco. President Obama was on his way to Africa for a two-nation visit at the time. He has offered his condolences to the community of Lafayette and the families of those who died.

Early on Friday, law enforcement investigated a local Motel 6 in Lafayette where it is believed that the shooter stayed. A bomb squad swept the room before officers entered. A cardboard box was removed from a hotel room, and officers knocked on other room doors in the hotel. Wigs and other disguises were allegedly found inside the hotel room.

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Houser formerly lived in Alabama. He has been “kind of a drifter” but has stayed in Lafayette since the beginning of the month. He has been arrested and ticketed several times in the past, for crimes ranging from speeding to arson. He has also been charged with selling alcohol to a minor. Although he has previously been married, he was not married at the time of the shootings. However, his former wife, Kellie Maddox Houser, had filed for a temporary protective order in 2008, because he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as threatening behavior” to attempt to halt his daughter’s wedding. The court documents also stated that he “perpetrated various acts of family violence,” and that he had “a history of mental health issues, i.e., manic depression and/or bipolar disorder.” The order was temporarily granted.

In January, two young sisters were charged with shooting their older brother.

Additionally, Kellie Houser had “become so worried about the defendant’s volatile mental state that she has removed all guns and/or weapons form their marital residence.”

More court documents from 2008 showed that family members of Houser at one time sought involuntary commitment through the probate court “because he was a danger to himself and others.” The order was granted, and Houser was hospitalized in Columbus, Georgia.

Houser had earned both an accounting degree and a law degree. He earned an accounting degree from Columbus State University in 1988 and a law degree from Faulkner University in 1998. However, there are no records that show he ever applied to take the bar exam.

A former television host from Georgia said that Houser appeared on his show multiple times in the early 1990s and promoted violence against those involved in abortions. Calvin Floyd hosted a morning call-in show in Columbus, Georgia. Floyd said that Houser was even opposed to women in the workplace. Floyd remembered him as an “angry man” who made “wild accusations” about a variety of issues.

Last year, an FSU law professor died in a shooting in his home.

Jacob Broussard was in the theater across the hall from the shooting. The 19-year-old student said that he heard three loud pops, and then the lights came on. He did not know there was a shooting at first, but he later saw a woman leaving the theater who had been shot in the leg. Broussard said he felt lucky.

Randall Mann stated that his daughter Emily and her friend were actually sitting in the same row as the gunman. He said, “They heard a couple of pops and didn’t know what it was. And then they saw the muzzle flashes, and that’s when they knew what was going on. She hit the floor immediately.” When asked about how Emily was doing, he responded, “She’s traumatized.”

Authorities are now looking into whether the gun used in the shootings was legally purchased. According to CNN, at this time, there is no clear motive for the shooting.


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