Police have identified the man responsible for shooting eleven people, killing two, and then killing himself in Lafayette, Louisiana: John Russell Houser, 59. According to reports, Houser had a history of dangerous and disturbing behavior. Reviewing what information is currently available about Houser, he seems eerily similar to the far-right wing Fox wackos out there.
Houser held dangerous beliefs and grew more violent over the years, according to the New York Times. This led his ex-wife to remove herself, their children, and all of the weapons from their home. In March of this year she filed for a divorce. She had previously filed for protective orders against Houser.
People who knew Houser said that as time went on Houser became more paranoid and seemed “stranger.”
“Everything was a plot against the South,” said Ed Hostilo, a former friend of Houser, talking to the Huffington Post about an interaction he had with Houser where Houser claimed the government was trying to destroy the Confederacy. “I told him, ‘the Confederacy was already destroyed.'”
It’s dangerous to paint the world with such “us vs. them” colors as Fox News so often does. That sort of rhetoric gives support to dangerous ideologies that often are held by dangerous people like Houser.
“I started noticing he was changing. He would get very vocal and passionate about something. He’d go off on a tirade … he would go on tirades for 15 minutes,” Hostillo said to the Huffington Post.
According to authorities, Houser had developed into a sort of drifter, having a scattered history of violence and minor crimes.
He was active on online antigovernment discussion boards and regularly expressed praise for Westboro Baptist Church, Timothy J. McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber), and even Adolf Hitler.
“America is so sick, that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world,” Houser once wrote in a forum. “I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.”
Police have stated that John Russell “Rusty” Houser, the man responsible for the shooting of 11 people at a Lafayette, Louisiana screening of the movie “Trainwreck,” purchased the gun he used legally.
“This was slow and methodical,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said. “This was not a single burst.”
The weapon was a Hi-Point .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol with a 10-round magazine. Houser reportedly fired and reloaded the gun during his assault.
“Out of 20 rounds he shot 11 people, but some people suffered multiple wounds,” said Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craig. “One person was shot four times.”
Houser had an scattered record of crimes, including an arson arrest that did not result in a conviction. Despite this, police have stated that he purchased the gun legally from an Alabama Pawn Shop.
“He just didn’t show up on any of the instant background checks,” said Drew Griffin to CNN.