Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

Movie shooter John R. Houser was Tea Party member who railed against U.S.

Investigators: John R. Houser easily got gun despite psychiatric history, past arson.

John Russell Houser, a/k/a "Rusty", and one of his vitriolic postings.

Reuters, LinkedIn/Oswald


John Russell Houser, the murderous gunman who killed two young women and injured nine others in a Louisiana theater, called America a “filth farm,” railed against feminists, and was a staple on right-wing talk radio, where he often got a platform to spew his vitriol.

He also had a history of mental illness, including a stay in a psych ward, and an arrest for arson.

Still, he was easily able to purchase the .40 caliber handgun he used to unleash his fury inside a Lafayette, La. cinema during a showing Thursday night of Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck.”

RELATED:Amy Schumer tweets: "My heart is broken."

Houser bought the murder weapon from a pawnshop in his home state of Alabama in 2014, police said. He had been denied a concealed-carry permit seven years earlier because of a domestic violence complaint and the arson bust, Reuters reported.

RELATED: The lives he cut short.

|<image-caption><p>The women he killed: Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33.</p></image-caption|Facebook

He was estranged from his family and had only moved to Lafayette a month early but investigators said he was plotting the attack for awhile.

They found disguises, wigs and sunglasses in his motel room and he had multiple license plates for the blue Lincoln he parked outside one of the exits of Grand Theatre 16.

Police said he acted alone and was intending to speed away but fatally shot himself as cops a approached him during the chaotic scene at the theater.

The exact motive for his rampage is not known but a disturbing portrait of an unhinged man brimming with hate has emerged.


RUSTY’S POLITICS
Houser, whose nickname was Rusty, was a self-described conservative who was a member of the Tea Party. He had a profile on a party website but wasn't active, said Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation.

He was a big fan of the Westboro Baptist Church , known for its hatred of the LGBT community and for inflammatory protests at the funerals of American soldiers.

Those leanings are made clear in his Internet postings -- and in his frequent call-ins to right-wing radio.

He often posted on a site called Fellowship of the Minds, a conservative site. He posted there as “Rusty Houser,” reports The Raw Story .

Among his online posts:
Dec. 2013: “America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.”

June 2013: “If you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do.”
&
“Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America.”


Houser was described as a "gadfly" by some and a frequent caller to right-wing radio who one host called "entertaining,"

“I had him on strictly because he was entertaining,” said Calvin Floyd, ormer host of “Rise and Shine” on WLTZ NBC 38 in Columbus, Ga.
He told The Washington Post: “He was radical, and when you’re looking for a person on a live show, taking calls, that’s what you want.”
“Whatever he wanted to talk about, it would generate calls,” said Floyd. “He was anti-abortion. The best I can recall, Rusty had an issue with feminine rights. He was opposed to women having a say in anything. You could talk with him a few minutes, and you would know he had a high IQ but there was a lot missing with him.”

FAMILY FIGHTS
Houser's family distanced themselves from him in 2008; in April of that year, a judge ordered him not to contact his wife and daughter, who had filed a request for a protective order against him in Carroll County, Georgia.

In the request, Reuters writes, Houser’s estranged wife, Kellie Houser, said she feared for his “volatile mental state” after he threatened to stop the wedding of his daughter and her boyfriend, according to court records. Reuters further reports:
"She said her husband was on daily medications for manic-depression and bipolar disorder at the time. Earlier, Houser was involuntarily committed to a hospital for psychiatric care, according to court documents. His family was concerned he could be a danger to himself and others, according to the petition.

"Houser's wife filed for divorce in March after they separated in 2012 following 29 years of marriage, court records show. According to the clerk of court's office, the divorce had not been finalized."

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
LikeMetro New York,Metro BostonorMetro Phillyon Facebook and join the conversation.

Consider AlsoFurther Articles