Three People Dead, Including Gunman, in Louisiana Theater Shooting

Three People Dead, Including Gunman, Louisiana
Mike Edmondson/Getty Images

UPDATED: Three people were shot and killed, and nine others were injured on Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside a movie theater in Lafayette, La.

The shooting occurred during a screening of “Trainwreck” at the Grand 16 Theater.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said on Friday afternoon that the shooter was slow and deliberate, taking his time as he “methodically worked his way down” the theater. Police ultimately uncovered 15 shell casings on the floor.

“It was barbaric, whether you want to call it an execution or mass slaughter,” Jindal told reporters. “In the end, love will triumph over evil.”

Described by officials as a 58-year-old white male, the man reportedly stood up about 20 minutes into a screening of “Trainwreck” and began randomly firing his handgun into the audience. He later shot and killed himself. One of the surviving victims played dead to survive, police said.

Of the nine hospitalized victims, five suffered critical injuries. The ages of the victims range from late teens to 60s. Five of the victims are still hospitalized — four are stable, while one is in critical condition. The four others have been treated and released.

Police identified the lone gunman early Friday morning as John Russell Houser. The shooter’s car, a 1995 blue Lincoln Continental, was also discovered at the theater near the exit through a side door. Houser had his keys on the tire of his car for easy access.

“It is apparent he was intent on shooting and escaping,” police chief Jim Craft told reporters on Friday morning. Houser abandoned his plans to escape, reentering the theater to shoot himself once he spotted the police unit pulling in at the same time. He fired three more rounds in the crowd and took his own life with the fourth round.

Houser is from Phenix City, Ala., and police said has no known connection to Lafayette. Houser, who had likely been staying in a Lafayette motel since early July, was described as a “drifter.” Police discovered wigs and glasses in his motel room on Friday morning. The shooter’s motive remains unclear.

He bought the .40 caliber handgun legally at a pawn shop in Alabama in February of 2014.

Police also identified the two female victims: a 21-year-old and a 33-year-old.

Houser’s then-wife, Kellie Maddox Houser, and other family members sought a temporary protective order against him in 2008. The family complained that he “perpetrated various acts of family violence” and “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements,” according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press on Friday.

The documents also reveal that Houser has a “history of mental health issues, i.e. manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder.”

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 documents read. The order was temporarily granted and she filed for divorce in March.

According to police chief Craft, the shooter had a criminal history that dates back several years.

A bomb squad was later called to the scene after police found a suspicious package inside the shooter’s car that was parked outside the theater. “It really was a chaotic scene,”  Craft told reporters on Thursday.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said two of the victims were teachers and that one took a bullet for the other and pulled the fire alarm.

“We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker,” witness Katie Domingue told the Daily Advertiser. “He wasn’t saying anything. I didn’t hear anybody screaming either.”

Universal’s “Trainwreck” comedy, starring Amy Schumer, opened nationwide July 17.

The deadly Louisiana tragedy comes less than a week after a jury in Aurora, Colo., found James Holmes guilty of first-degree murder in the movie theater shooting that killed 12 people on July 20, 2012. He faces the death penalty.

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  1. Snip It Tool says:

    I appreciate you putting a warning before the video. That’s literally all a trigger warning is: letting the brutalized know that some of the graphic shit they barely survived is about to be thrown in their faces, and they have the choice to look or not look depending on how much trauma they personally feel capable of handling that day.

    I also appreciate you including this context “42 officers died by gunfire in the line of duty in 2015, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. That same year, 990 civilians were killed by police.” in an article mentioning the heinous “blue lives matter” bill. Talk about fucking cultural appropriation and exploitation. Putting our own language, our own phrase to stand up to hate crimes by the police, into a law to protect those very police from a public far more threatened by, than threatening to, them. Not to mention this fucking law is going to be used to allow more hate crimes, because the police have so much power to lie and be believed without question, where we have video after video after video and study after study of evidence (after decades of ignored personal testimony), yet their cries are heard, while our needs are further trampled. Fucks.

  2. Cam says:

    Think about it, who is more likely to pick up a gun and either accidentally or purposefully do something bad with it: a kid who finds his dad’s secret gun hidden in the closet one day, or the kid who goes hunting with his dad each week and has his own gun that he knows how to use safely?

  3. Cam says:

    Notice how mass shootings have become increasingly more of a problemin the last 20 or 30 years. Who’d even heard of something like that 100 years ago? And yet, 100+ years ago, just about every family owned at least one gun. We have always had the right to have them here, they have always been popular, if not even more so before. It seems like it must have something to do with electronics and media nowadays. I’m not sure what, but I’m sure that is the root of it. Back when everybody had guns, people owned them for more than just pleasure, power, and security. They served a purpose. Even now, I never hear about an experienced gunman or hunter (barring PTSD sufferers) committing a mass killing. I think the truth is that if you own guns, use them to serve a purpose, are well-educated and trained from a young age about them, then there is no mysterious aura of power to a gun. it would simply be a tool everyone used and was familiar with rather than this thing that some people see as almost an all-powerful, all-commanding weapon that will strike fear into everyone. The romanticized idea of the gun for would-be shooters would no longer exist if everyone used and owned them for a real purpose.

  4. Cam says:

    I’m sure the movie had very little to do with the shooting, he was just looking for a room full of people to kill, so why should Schumer be solemn about it? She is a comedian, comedians tell jokes about death all the time, people die every day, that doesn’t mean we have to sit around crying over people we don’t know. And your message probably won’t make it to Daily show producers because the show ended last week. And why shouldn’t he have brought up the shooting? It’s a comedy show, but it’s also a news program for the most part, he talks about serious topics all the time and usually makes it into satire, why would this be different?

  5. Jasmine says:

    I just want to comment on Amy Schumer’s remarks on The Daily Show. First of all, I don’t think that Jon Stewart should have even brought that up. It’s supposed to be a comedy show. But I feel that Amy’s remarks were disgraceful. Saying, “it was a bummer”, ??? And then saying she was “legit” heartbroken. What, Is the word “legitimate” to long of a word for you to pronounce?? I hope this message makes it to the producers of the daily show and Jon Stewart and Amy. I used to like her, now I think she’s a disgusting pig.

    • bliz says:

      I actually found that very disrespectful…she needs to ‘turn off’ her whole bitchy sarcastic delivery when discussing a mass shooting. I still find her funny but I did lose alotta respect for her, and kinda Stewart for not ding a quick “bummer? really? C’mon, Amy” just to put her in her place…but stew seems soft on ceeb slip ups, such as his coddling interview with Cruise recently (*minus the volcano comment)

      • bliz says:

        And I also thought Schumer was just trying to look like a freedom fighter with her politician cousin Chuck Schumer because there was no insight as to why it happened or what should be done to end all the shootings…if stew brought it up they should have both briefly discussed the problem of guns and the problem of mental health being neglected in the u.s. that has been pretty much the reason for EVERY mass shooting: crazy person with a gun…but they didn’t discuss anything substantive….it literally felt like stew and her planned on bringing it up solely for her to mention it..

  6. BillUSA says:

    My heartfelt condolences to those who lost their loved ones in this senseless act. But I want to remind some people that the guns didn’t enslave themselves to Houser at the pawn shop. They also didn’t load themselves, conceal themselves or pull themselves out in a movie theater to begin firing randomly at innocent people there to watch a movie.

    To me, all such acts are the result of mental health issues. Houser is one end of the extreme while others do it for religious or political purposes. In the end, its still takes a mentally disturbed person to take out other innocent people for no sensible, life-threatening reason.

    To haggle over gun rights is a waste of time. We all deserve the right to defend ourselves and I certainly will. The focus needs to be on our mental healthcare system and the freedoms which are allowed to people with instability issues. A very fine line indeed but one worth defining and enforcing.

  7. Darrell Finn says:

    Were the guns harmed? I hope the guns were okay. I hope this is a reminder that we should all cradle our guns, kiss them, tell them we love them because evil Obama might try to take them away. Please god, protect my gun.

  8. Fudgy says:

    All I can say is thank God no one took away this mental patient’s 2nd Ammendment Rights by seizing his weapons based on his condition. And if everyone in the theater was armed then no one would have gotten killed. Oh wait, that’s complete bullshit.

    • bliz says:

      right… a dark crowded theater with other ppl shooting blindly from different angles would result in no one being shot…gotcha

      • bliz says:

        ….and amateur shooters shooting a shooter…moron

        I dont think you’ve ever been in a situation to fire guns in a dark crowded theater while a madman shoots everyone…you watch too many movies buddy…grow up and get real

  9. Red Queen says:

    That is stupid, insensitive and downright mean. There are things you shouldn’t joke about.

  10. RelicLord says:

    While have sympathy for the victims and appreciate the news you really need to proof read for grammar and spelling errors.

    • bliz says:

      “While have sympathy for the victims and appreciate the news you really need to proof read for grammar and spelling errors”

      you forgot an ‘I’ after ‘while’….you also forgot a comma after ‘news’….and as other post mentioned, ‘proof read’ isn’t correct: it’s proofread…

      either way, i really dont care about proper spelling and grammar when writing comments on the internet, but i figured i’d deflect it back because you must be a huge ignoramus and douche bag to bring up grammar about an article about a mass shooting…and you were wrong yourself chomsky

    • Mjkbk says:

      “Proofread”….isn’t that an Old English word, that no longer has any meaning among professional communicators? Might as well be from a dead language……

  11. Luke says:

    Why do these absolute losers feel they have to take other lives WITH their own, instead of just killing themselves?

  12. PJ says:

    That’s very insensitive.

  13. laurie says:

    An armed society is a polite society. amiright gun loons?

  14. KD. says:

    Why not outfit the ushers with metal detectors?

    • Odinson2k14 says:

      …can you imagine the headaches, as people have to take their keys, coins, phones, etc out? The answer is armed security.

  15. IT 2 IT says:

    SANDY HOOK PLAYERS do DIXIE?

    BE a MAN!

    CHECK OUT the reports of JIM FETZER and others.

    YOU DECIDE.

  16. Yes, sigh, there’s this vast left-wing conspiracy— involving— somebody— to take away Americans’ guns. And isn’t it going well…

  17. Ted Faraone says:

    What in Heaven’s name is making these shooters go so crazy?

    • Mjkbk says:

      My theory, based on the last several years of deranged mass shootings? The mental issues began increasing with the economic downturn……

      • bliz says:

        crime in general has declined overall over the past few decades since the 70s and 80s despite a slight increase in mass shootings…and other countries that have even worse economic downturn don’t have remotely close to the type of incidents…why? no guns, or less guns, and better mental health services…period

  18. Michael says:

    Cue all the enraged gun huggers screaming that Obama is going to take your guns!

  19. M says:

    Yeah, John. Go back from the hole you came from.

  20. YOU sir are NOT a Conservative.

    • Recall says:

      Fuck you. People are dead and the first thing you’re worried about is big, bad ‘bama taking away your guns?

      What is your damage?

  21. Your Conscience says:

    Are you kidding? If that isn’t a sick joke, then you are a sick joke.

  22. Beckstle says:

    People are so worried about random ISIL terrorists doing mass shootings, but honestly it’ll feel like just another news day in the U.S.: “A gunman opened fire at” fill-in-blank place “killing X amount of people before…” a) killed himself, b) police killed him c) was subdued and taken into custody. News at 11. We already live with the knowledge that you can go out to the store, movies, school or church, and some wack-a-doo with a gun – likely converted to a full automatic – can walk in at anytime and open fire.

    • Alex says:

      “likely converted to a full automatic” Another person who watches too much tv. They tried full auto with M16s and it largely isn’t used by our military. Full auto essentially requires multiple people just to deal with the ammo.

    • Mr. Pink says:

      When have any off the previous shootings been conducted with “converted to fully automatic” weapons. First of all that’s naive and second its hard to do as all parts to convert to “fully auto” are class 3 and require a stamp and fbi and local approval to get. You non gun owners/activists make me laugh. Stop letting your lives be run by unveted unreliable news sources who wouldn’t know the business end of a gun if it was pointed at them

      • “When have any OFF” (emphasis added), “UNVETED unreliable”, etc.? Amazing we live in a country where so many obvious morons get to call shots (that weapon word-punning, by the way, was at least a little more clever than what you attempted at the end of your ‘post’). You gun-worshippers never understand that (if circumstances were less disgusting) you WOULD make the rest of us laugh, as you are literally ILLITERATE ORANGUTANS WITH WEAPONS (and you can’t use them any more reliably than, say, a keyboard)

  23. Max Fisher says:

    I am a very conservative Republican enigmatically opposed to private ownership of guns except rifles for sportsmanship (hunting), only after extensive proof of responsibility and licensing. That said, I believe it is doubtful that further restrictions (“gun control”) will make much difference in gun deaths. Bad guys will always have guns. If you outlawed all guns in America today, the blackmarket gun sales out of Mexico, Russia and other countries would simply enhance until we are unsuccessfully fighting a “gun war” like the costly unsuccessful drug war.

  24. Max Barber says:

    Yeah….that’s it.

  25. jhs39 says:

    Another example of how guns make everyone safer. Since Louisiana is an open carry state I could walk into a movie theater there with an assault rifle draped across my shoulder, stand in the back of the theater, wait for the movie to start, creep out the patrons of the theater and I wouldn’t be doing anything illegal until I actually started to open fire. Anyone notice that mass shootings almost always happen in NRA friendly areas where people are supposedly much safer because of the lax gun laws?

    • Steve says:

      No, You’re wrong again. Cities like Chicago and Washington DC where gun laws are the most strict, have more gun deaths. But you and the Liberal news press are content and happy to ignore these facts. Did you speak out when our Patriots were killed in Chattanooga? Now is chance.

      • bliz says:

        No, per capita they don’t have more gun shoootings, and they have more increased poverty as well….there are more shootings in rural illinois than chicago…read about facts sometimes

    • Mr. Pink says:

      Really. I would love to see the evidence to support this claim that these shootings ALMOST ALWAYS HAPPEN IN NRA FRIENDLY AREAS. You make me sick going the democratic way of “never letting a tragedy go to waste”. How about just a heart felt condolence to the families of those affected.

    • BigBoss says:

      Schools and Movies, most friendly NRA places out there. In all honestly you’re either the stupidest person I’ve encountered, or whatever would be 1 level below that

      • scrumptical says:

        Bigboss, you’re misreading his comment. jhs39 means any state where there is open carry.

        Here in Australia this barely ever happens. America needs to take the measures we did to save lives — adopt tougher gun restrictions, and get over the ridiculous gun culture that ends in people dying like this.

      • Dear little liberal jhs39…..The theater in question is a GUN FREE zone. How did that work out? Poor little liberal. You know so much hat just ISN’T so

  26. MN says:

    My goodness, America…

    • HitesMites says:

      Indeed. Society as a whole has become so screwed up in it’s lack of common decency. Just today I gave a thank you out my window to a guy who almost hit my truck, but then he backed up so I could swing through – as I drove past with a friendly nod, he shouted fuck you at me. Not akin to a tragic shooting but nevertheless, speaks to the lack of humanity in this country.

      • LAD says:

        Yup, it’s a lack of education, a lack of empathy and the “us against them” attitude politicians are pushing because it serves their immediate goals of getting elected and making themselves richer.

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