LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Police: Louisiana movie theater shooter identified as John Russell Houser.
Authorities are describing the gunman in the movie theater shooting as a 59-year-old man who previously lived in Alabama but is “kind of a drifter” who had been in the Lafayette area since early July.
Police said Friday that the gunman fired a handgun 13 times inside the theater, killing two people and wounding at least nine others before fatally shooting himself.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the gunman parked his car near the theater’s exit door and was intent on escaping, but couldn’t because police arrived so quickly.
Authorities have not determined a motive. They searched a motel room he had been staying in and found wigs and other disguises.
About a dozen law enforcement personnel were gathered at a Motel 6 in Lafayette early Friday as authorities investigate a shooting at movie theater that killed three people, including the gunman.
Louisiana State Police spokesman Maj. Doug Cain said the theater investigation led them to a room at the Motel 6. Cain said authorities were investigating whether the shooter had stayed there. He said the bomb squad swept the room before going in as a precaution.
About a dozen police personnel could be seen outside the motel. At one point, an officer carried out a cardboard box from the room and other officers could be seen knocking on neighboring doors.
The White House says President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting at a Louisiana movie theater that left three people dead, including the gunman.
Obama was briefed aboard Air Force One on Thursday by Lisa Monaco, his homeland security adviser, while on his way to Africa for a two-nation visit.
Obama asked his team to keep him updated on the investigation and the status of those wounded in the shooting.
He also offered his thoughts and prayers to the community of Lafayette, Louisiana, where the movie theater is located, and to the families of those who were killed.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft told reporters that nine people in total were wounded in the shooting.
He said at least one of those was in critical condition and being operated on at an area hospital.
“At this point we have three dead, nine wounded and of the three dead one is definitely the shooter,” he said.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft told reporters that based on the investigation so far, they believe the shooter stood up in the theater, started shooting, and then as people started fleeing, he began to leave as well.
But, investigators believe, he spotted two police officers, who had been out in the parking lot when the shooting happened. The shooter then turned around against the crowd before firing a single shot.
“It looks like he spotted the officers coming in and he turned around and he went against the crowd, and he fired a single gunshot,” he said. “He was seated in the theater just like everybody else.”
“The information we have at this time indicates that he was by himself, sat by himself and the first two people he shot were sitting right in front of him,” Craft said.
Police say they are checking out suspicious packages inside the Lafayette movie theater where a gunman opened fire Thursday.
Sgt. Brooks David of the Louisiana State Police said a dog alerted to a backpack and other small items in the theater.
Three people were killed, including the gunman, and seven injured in the shooting.
(Photo Source: AP)