Louisiana Gunman John Russell Houser Was Spotted in Other Theaters Before Trainwreck Shooting, Cops Say

John Russell Houser, Louisiana Gunman, Had Glasses and Wig, Booby-Trapped Home
John Russell Houser
LinkedIn

07/27/2015 AT 03:15 PM EDT

In the days leading up to his fatal attack on a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater, gunman John Russell Houser showed no outward signs of the violence he was planning.

"He minded his own business," Vikas Patel, owner of the Motel 6 where Houser was staying, told CBS News. "He did what he had to do and that's basically it."

In fact, surveillance footage shows the 59-year-old shooter – who killed two women at a showing of the comedy Trainwreck on Thursday before turning the weapon on himself – smiling as he stopped by the check-in desk at the hotel just four miles from where the rampage took place.

But what police found behind closed doors tells a different story. Houser's hotel room contained bottles of liquor with clothes strewn about and the TV still on, say police, who revealed Friday that inside they'd also found a wig and glasses that Houser may have used as a disguise.

"We know him to have been in other movie theaters across south Louisiana, probably Lake Charles, here in Lafayette and in Baton Rouge," said Michael Edmonson, Louisiana State Police superintendent. One person even told authorities they'd seen Houser in a wig in Baton Rouge. They felt so uncomfortable they left the theater.



And if his hotel room was in shambles, his home was worse. Eighteen months ago, Houser was evicted from his Phenix City, Alabama, home, which he left booby-trapped for the next owners.

Feces were in buckets all over the place, goldfish had been cut up and thrown in the pool, and the fuse box was cemented shut. Worst of all, the gas line was turned on, with the electric fireplace still lit, according to The Ledger-Enquirer.

"I consider myself lucky," the home's new owner, Norman Bone, told the paper. "If he was in that frame of mind to do what he'd done out there, he could have came back to Columbus and did the same thing to me and my family."

Added Bone: "He could have went ballistic any time."

The Associated Press reports that Houser had been delivered to hospital for a mental evaluation by deputies in 2008, following his family informing them that he was a danger to himself and to others. But a judge did not have him involuntarily committed.

AP also reports that funerals for victims Jillian Johnson and Mayci Marie Breaux were held in Louisiana on Monday.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners