La. theater gunman had Georgia ties

FOX 5 News has learned the gunman who opened fire inside a Louisiana movie theater, killing two people and injuring nine others, has ties to Georgia.

John Russel Houser, 59, graduated from Columbus State University in 1988 with an accounting degree, the university confirmed Friday morning. . 

We've also learned that the wife and other family members of Houser asked for a temporary protective order in 2008 against him. Court documents seeking the order said Houser "exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements." The documents said even though he lived in Phenix City, Alabama, he had come to Carroll County where they lived and "perpetrated various acts of family violence."

House "has a history of mental health issues, i/e/. manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder" the filing said. The filing said Houser's wife, Kellie Maddox Houser, "has become so worried about the defendant's volatile mental state that she has removed all guns and/or weapons from their marital residence."

The protection order was at least temporarily granted. She filed for divorce in March.

The court documents reveal Houser was taken to a hospital in Columbus, Georgia. While he was at the Carroll County Sheriff's Office awaiting transfer to the hospital, Houser said to his then-wife that once he got out of the hospital, "he would continue his erratic as well as threatening behavior" to try to stop his daughter's wedding, the filing said. 

The deadly shooting

Houser stood up about 20 minutes into the showing of “Trainwreck” and vegan firing into the crowd at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette Thursday night.

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. 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 said Houser had been in the Lafayette area since early July, staying at a motel where they found disguises, including glasses and wigs.

More on Houser

Houser had been arrested and ticketed for several offenses in the past, ranging from arson to selling alcohol to a minor to speeding, authorities said. In Alabama, records show Houser had four speeding tickets and one no-seatbelt ticket between 1981 and 2003. It's not clear when and where the arson allegedly occurred.

Alabama court records show Houser filed a small claims court lawsuit in 2004 claiming he was injured when he donated plasma at a Phenix City donation center. He asked for $1,800 to pay his emergency room bill and for a narcotics prescription. The case was settled, according to court records.

Police said they had talked to his family in Alabama but he appeared "seemingly estranged" from them.

The Louisiana shooting occurred three years after James Holmes entered a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver and opened fire during the premier of a Batman film, killing 12 people and wounding 70 others.

A jury last week quickly convicted Holmes on 165 counts of murder, attempted murder and other charges, rejecting defense arguments that he was insane and suffering delusions that drove him to the July 20, 2012, attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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