The movie theater gunman who stood up about 20 minutes into the showing of “Trainwreck” and began firing into the crowd, killing two people, was described as a drifter from Alabama whose escape plan was thwarted by police officers who arrived almost immediately, authorities said Friday. The gunman killed himself.
Nine people were wounded in the attack Thursday night. The gunman, identified as 59-year-old John Russel Houser, fired at least 13 times from a handgun, police said. He had parked his car by the theater’s exit door and initially tried to escape by blending into the fleeing crowd, but turned back when he saw police heading inside from the parking lot, authorities said. Officers tailing him back into the theater then heard a single gunshot and found him dead inside, police said.
“It is apparent that he was intent on shooting and then escaping,” Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said.
Authorities did not release a motive. They said Houser had been in the Lafayette area since early July, staying at a motel where they found disguises, including glasses and wigs. His 1995 blue Lincoln Continental had a license plate on it that didn’t match the car.
Police said the gunman was by himself and started the rampage by shooting the two people sitting in front of him. The victims were identified as 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux.
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