The shooter in Thursday night’s attack inside a Louisiana movie theater have been identified as 58-year-old John Russell Houser. Authorities say the man is from Alabama and had been staying at a local hotel recently. They described him as a “drifter” who had disguises in his car. They say he appears to have been armed only with a .40-caliber handgun, and that his car was parked outside an emergency exit door—indicating that he planned to get away.
Officials say they know little about the shooter, and are requesting that people with information on him contact local authorities. A Google search for the name reveals a Tea Party Nation page registered to a person with that name. Authorities have not confirmed whether the page, registered in June 2013, belonged to the shooter. The owner of the Tea Party Nation page identifies his hometown as Phoenix, Alabama. He seems to have called himself Rusty Houser on another forum in which he describes himself as “very conservative” and asks how to find white power groups.
Two women were identified as dead and many others injured as a result of the shooting at a Trainwreck screening at The Grand 16 cinema. The victims varied in age from late teens into the sixties and injuries ranged from non-life-threatening to critical condition, Craft said. One woman underwent surgery and is in critical condition, officials said. The shooting comes the same day that a jury saw James Holmes declared fit to potentially face the death penalty for shooting to death 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater in 2012.
Houser had a criminal history, but not a recent one, Craft said. The shooter was sitting alone before he stood up and began firing a semi-automatic handgun at the two people sitting in front of him, police said. Authorities added there were about 100 theater patrons inside at the time of the shooting. Police said they are also checking several addresses connected to the gunman in “multiple” Southern states.
Trainwreck star Amy Schumer tweeted her “heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.”