Suspect in Trainwreck Theater Shooting Identified as 'Drifter' John Russell Houser, 59
Two people were killed and at least nine injured after a gunman opened fire during a screening of the movie Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Thursday.
The gunman, who also died after taking his own life, was identified Friday morning as John Russell Houser, a 59-year-old white male whom police described as a “drifter.”
Jim Craft, chief of police at the Lafayette Police Department, told PEOPLE in a statement: “At approximately 7:30 p.m., Lafayette Police responded to reports of an ‘Active Shooter’ at the Grand 16 Lafayette Theatre.”
He added: “Lafayette Police confirm that there are fatalities at the scene, one which is believed to be the shooter.”
On Friday, the two victims were identified as Mayci Breaux, 21, of Franklin, Louisiana, who died at the theater, and Jillian Johnson, 33, of Lafayette, who died at the hospital, the AP reports.
Actress Amy Schumer, who wrote and stars in the film, Tweeted her reaction to the news, writing: “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also Tweeted about the news, telling followers: “I’m on my way to Lafayette right now. Please say a prayer for the victims at Grand Theatre and their families.”
TIME reports that the shooting took place 20 minutes into the film, and it describes the gunman as an “older white male.”
The gunman was sitting in the Grand Theatre 16 “just like everybody else” before randomly opening fire on the spectators at a 7:30 p.m. screening of the comedy, Craft said, NBC News reports.
“The information we have at this time indicates that he was by himself, he sat by himself and the first two people he shot were sitting right in front of him,” Craft said.
“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.”
Officials said that the older man did have a “criminal history” but did not elaborate.
Authorities added that they have found what they believe to be the gunman’s car. The bomb squad was called in after “suspicious” items were reported inside the vehicle.
Police also searched a Motel 6 hotel room the shooter may have stayed in, the Associated Press reports. Authorities were seen removing a cardboard box from the room, which was swept for bombs before police went in.
Two teachers are being hailed as heroes after one threw herself over another to protect her. In turn, the second teacher pulled the fire alarm, saving countless lives.
At Least 3 Dead in Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting
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