Blog Briefing Room

Lafayette movie theater gunman identified

John Russel Houser, Lafayette, Movie Theater, shooting
Lafayette PD

Law enforcement officials in Louisiana identified the man who opened fire Thursday night inside a crowded movie theater in Lafayette as 59-year-old John Russel Houser of Phenix City, Ala.

{mosads}Houser was described by Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft as “kind of a drifter” with a “very, very aged” criminal record.

“He seems to be estranged from his family,” Craft noted.

A search of the Lafayette motel room Houser was staying in revealed a number of wigs and disguises. Authorities believe Houser was intent on shooting moviegoers at the Grand 16 Theatre on Johnston Street before escaping in a vehicle parked outside.

An exact motive has yet to be established.

Houser shot and killed two people and injured seven others approximately 20 minutes into the 7 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck,” before turning his handgun on himself.

He died of a self-inflicted wound shortly after police arrived on the scene.

“My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana,” tweeted actress Amy Schumer, star of “Trainwreck,” late Thursday night.

The White House said Friday morning that President Obama had been briefed on the shooting en route to Africa.

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