John Russell Houser
|“||America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world. I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do tell me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.||„|
|~ Houser in a 2013 social media post.|
John Russell "Rusty" Houser (November 22, 1955 – July 23, 2015) was the perpetrator of the Grand 16 movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana on July 23, 2015. He killed two people and injured nine others before killing himself.
He was known to have far-right and anti-government political beliefs that likely played a role in the shooting, as well as a multitude of mental health issues and a history of domestic violence. He also had a lengthy criminal history prior to the shooting.
2015 Lafayette Shooting
The shooting occurred in theater 14 during the 7:10 p.m. screening of the film Trainwreck, held at the Grand 16 movie theater in Lafayette. Houser, 59, went to the theater alone, bought a ticket ten minutes late into the movie, and sat for several minutes in the theater's second-to-last row. Including Houser, there were 25 people in the theater and 300 people in the building. Houser was armed with a Hi-Point Model JCP .40-caliber handgun and equipped with two 10-round magazines. Shortly before 7:30 p.m., he stood up, pulled out the handgun from his pants, and started shooting indiscriminately while walking down the steps. Houser fired at least 13 rounds and reloaded once. He killed two people and injured nine others.
The first two people he shot were sitting directly in front of him.The shooting was contained to one theater. After the shooting ended, Houser exited the theater through a side door and apparently tried to head for his vehicle while blending in with survivors. However, upon noticing police sirens, he retreated back inside the building and fired three more shots at fleeing moviegoers before committing suicide.
Four officers responded to the scene in less than a minute after receiving a 7:28 p.m. report of the shooting. After witnessing audiences fleeing and hearing gunshots, they made their way into the auditorium. Upon entering the theater, two-and-a-half minutes after arrival, they found Houser dead; he had fatally shot himself in the mouth. His body remained inside the theater for several hours. After the shooting, it was discovered that he had a blood alcohol level of 0.1, while the legal limit to drive is 0.08.
On July 27, The Hollywood Reporter reported that investigators believed Houser chose to commit the shooting in a theater playing Trainwreck due to its feminist themes and characters, as well as its lead actor's Jewish background. Houser was said to have been a misogynist and praised the actions of Adolf Hitler on online message boards. An investigation by the SPLC into the shooter's social media posts revealed that he was a supporter of the Greek far-right political party Golden Dawn, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, the Westboro Baptist Church, antisemitism, the aforementioned Adolf Hitler and Timothy McVeigh as well as asking on an online forum where he could join white power groups. Additionally, Houser praised the Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof and stated that he was "green but good" and "But thanks for the wake up call Dylann" as well as expressing homophobic, misogynistic, and racist anti-black sentiments in his journal.