Theater gunman had 'volatile mental state,' family said in 2008 documents seeking protection
John Russell Houser (Source: LinkedIn)
LAFAYETTE, LA (AP) -
The latest on the shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater (times are local):
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, Alabama, he had come to Carroll County, Georgia, 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.
The father of a woman in the theater at the time of the shooting says his daughter was sitting with a friend in the same row as the shooter.
"They heard a couple of pops and didn't know what it was," Randall Mann said. "And then they saw the muzzle flashes, and that's when they knew what was going on. She hit the floor immediately."
Randall Mann said his daughter Emily and her friend escaped uninjured.
"She's traumatized," he said.
The gunman killed two woman and wounded nine other people before he killed himself Thursday night.
Police and court records show the Louisiana movie theater gunman has been arrested and ticketed for several offenses in the past, ranging from arson to speeding.
Police officials said at a news conference Friday that 59-year-old John Russel Houser's arrests date 10 to 15 years ago or more. Those include charges of arson and selling alcohol to a minor. He had been married once in the past but was not currently married.
In Alabama, records show Houser had four speeding tickets and one no-seatbelt ticket between 1981 and 2003.
Alabama court records show Houser filed a small claims court lawsuit in 2004 claiming he was injured when he donated plasma at a Phenix City donation center. He asked for $1,800 to pay his emergency room bill and for a narcotics prescription. The case was settled, according to court records.
A 19-year-old college student who was watching a movie in a theater across the hall from the shooting says he heard three loud pops before the lights came on.
Jacob Broussard said Friday that he didn't initially know there was a shooting, but as he was evacuating the theater, he saw a woman who had been shot in the leg.
Authorities say a gunman stood up about 20 minutes into the movie and started firing, killing two women and wounding nine others.
Broussard, a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, says he felt lucky.
His father, Shannon Broussard, described gratitude for a teacher who apparently pulled the fire alarm to alert theatergoers that they needed to evacuate the building.
The two victims who were killed when a gunman opened fire in a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater have been identified as 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux.
The gunman, who authorities identified as 59-year-old John Russel Houser, killed himself after trying to flee the scene.
Nine others were wounded in the Thursday night shooting that happened during a showing of the comedy "Trainwreck."
Authorities are describing the gunman in the movie theater shooting as a 59-year-old man who previously lived in Alabama but is "kind of a drifter" who had been in the Lafayette area since early July.
Police said Friday that the gunman fired a handgun 13 times inside the theater, killing two people and wounding at least nine others before fatally shooting himself.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the gunman parked his car near the theater's exit door and was intent on escaping, but couldn't because police arrived so quickly.
Authorities have not determined a motive. They searched a motel room he had been staying in and found wigs and other disguises.
About a dozen law enforcement personnel were gathered at a Motel 6 in Lafayette early Friday as authorities investigate a shooting at movie theater that killed three people, including the gunman.
Louisiana State Police spokesman Maj. Doug Cain said the theater investigation led them to a room at the Motel 6. Cain said authorities were investigating whether the shooter had stayed there. He said the bomb squad swept the room before going in as a precaution.
About a dozen police personnel could be seen outside the motel. At one point, an officer carried out a cardboard box from the room and other officers could be seen knocking on neighboring doors.
The White House says President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting at a Louisiana movie theater that left three people dead, including the gunman.
Obama was briefed aboard Air Force One on Thursday by Lisa Monaco, his homeland security adviser, while on his way to Africa for a two-nation visit.
Obama asked his team to keep him updated on the investigation and the status of those wounded in the shooting.
He also offered his thoughts and prayers to the community of Lafayette, Louisiana, where the movie theater is located, and to the families of those who were killed.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft told reporters that nine people in total were wounded in the shooting.
He said at least one of those was in critical condition and being operated on at an area hospital.
"At this point we have three dead, nine wounded and of the three dead one is definitely the shooter," he said.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft told reporters that based on the investigation so far, they believe the shooter stood up in the theater, started shooting, and then as people started fleeing, he began to leave as well.
But, investigators believe, he spotted two police officers, who had been out in the parking lot when the shooting happened. The shooter then turned around against the crowd before firing a single shot.
"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 said. "He was seated in the theater just like everybody else."
"The information we have at this time indicates that he was by himself, sat by himself and the first two people he shot were sitting right in front of him," Craft said.
Police say they are checking out suspicious packages inside the Lafayette movie theater where a gunman opened fire Thursday.
Sgt. Brooks David of the Louisiana State Police said a dog alerted to a backpack and other small items in the theater.
Three people were killed, including the gunman, and seven injured in the shooting.
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