Cops: Theater Shooter Had Wigs, Disguises at Motel

'Drifter' John Russel Houser, 59, was from Alabama
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2015 8:08 AM CDT
Cops: Theater Shooter Had Wigs, Disguises at Motel
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft addresses the media early this morning in Lafayette, La., as he provides an update on a deadly shooting at the Grand Theatre from the night before.   (Paul Kieu/The Daily Advertiser via AP)

The 59-year-old man who opened fire at a Lafayette, La., movie theater last night, killing two and injuring nine before killing himself, has been identified as John Russel Houser, police said at a news conference this morning, per ABC News. Details are still emerging, but police say Houser, from Phenix City, Ala., was staying at a local Motel 6 over the last few weeks, NBC News notes. Investigators reportedly found wigs, glasses, and other disguises in his motel room and say that his vehicle had a swapped-out license plate. Houser, who police described as a "drifter," had minimal links to Lafayette, though he'd likely been hanging around the area since early July. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft says the only connection they've surfaced to the area thus far is a dead uncle who lived there long ago, per

Craft told reporters this morning that Houser had been sitting in the movie theater for 20 minutes "just like everybody else" when he suddenly started shooting. The two people killed were today named as Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33. A man who had taken his fiancee to see Trainwreck at the theater and who witnessed the shooting tells NBC Los Angeles he saw "kind of a middle-aged gentleman in a polo shirt" in the back of the theater and that he remained silent throughout. "He wasn’t erratic or nervous, just walking down the aisle randomly firing," he says. Cops say Houser had tried to escape to his parked car right outside the theater's exit by blending into the crowd, but then turned back when he saw police coming in from the parking lot, the AP reports. "The quick law enforcement response forced him back into the theater," Craft said. (More Louisiana stories.)

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