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Lafayette theater shooter had a ‘history of mental health issues,’ court documents reveal

The 59-year-old shooter who opened fire Thursday night in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, had “a history of mental health issues,” 2008 court documents said.

The wife of the shooter, identified by authorities as John Russel Houser, filed a temporary protective order seven years ago to remove guns from the home because of the man’s “volatile mental state,” the Associated Press reported.

The 2008 documents said John Houser, “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements.” The protection order was temporarily granted, AP reported.


On Thursday, Houser stood up during a 7:10 p.m. showing of “Trainwreck” at the Grande Theater and fired 13 times into the crowd. Houser had parked his car by the theater’s exit door and tried to escape, but he was forced back into the theater when two police officers arrived immediately at the scene, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said. He killed two people and injured nine others, before turning the gun on himself.

Authorities confirmed that Houser had used a semi-automatic handgun in the attack and said there was no secondary shooter.

Craft said Houser had a criminal history, but “it’s pretty old.” Sgt. Brooks David of the Louisiana State Police described Houser to CNN as a “lone white male.”

Authorities, who had described Houser as a “drifter,” have yet to announce a motive, although they said Houser was holed up in a nearby motel where they found several disguises.

Since Thursday’s attack, two of the victims have since been released from the hospital.

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