Twenty minutes into a screening of the new movie, Trainwreck, at a Lafayette, Louisiana Theater, a gunman stood up and opened fire on the audience. Two people were killed and nine were injured, police said.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the gunman used a handgun and took his own life within a minute of the officers arriving at the scene.
Chief Craft released a statement to the public about the shooting.
“The information we have at this time indicated that he was by himself, he sat by himself and the first two people he shot were sitting right in front of him,” he stated. “When he stood up and started firing, people started rushing out. It looks like he spotted the officers coming in and he turned around, went against the crowd and fired a single gunshot.”
Louisiana State Police Col. Michael Edmonson told reporters that the police believe there was not anyone else involved.
The gunman, identified as 59-year-old John Russell Houser, is said to have had a history of “extreme erratic behavior.” Court documents show that the man was unstable to the point that his wife removed all guns from their home.
Police describe Houser as a “drifter,” who had a documented history of making threats to family members and hospitalizations for his mental conditions.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said that when Houser was living in Alabama in 2005, officials received a domestic violence complaint, but the victim did not want to prosecute.
In 2008, police were called to Houser’s home in Georgia for a “mentally disturbed person” call. When police arrived, they said Houser’s wife at the time, Kellie, who filed for divorce in May, informed them of Houser’s history of mental problems (manic depressant and bi-polar disorder). She also informed them that her husband was on prescribed daily medication. However, one officer wrote in the report that Kellie Houser “stated that sometimes he forgets to take his medication and sometimes he forgets to eat, which affects his behavior as well.”
The star of the romantic-comedy, Trainwreck, Amy Schumer, has expressed devastation over the shooting that occurred during her movie screening.
“My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana,” the actress posted on Twitter.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recognized the courageous and heroic actions of two teachers in the theater. One who had pulled the fire alarm and another who had jumped in front of her, saving her life.
“Both teachers ended up shot. The second one, the one whose life was saved, even though she was shot in the leg, she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm to help save other lives.”
Jindal continued to recognize the difficulty that those involved, Louisiana, and the United States are facing at this time.
“This is a time for us to come together,” he said. “What we can do now is pray. We can hug these families, shower them with love, thoughts and prayers. This is an awful night for Lafayette, an awful night for Louisiana, an awful night for the United States.”