Alleged Movie Theater Gunman Left Online Trail Of Extreme Right Wing Views

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This post has been updated.

It’s not yet clear why a gunman opened fire on Thursday in a Louisiana movie theater, killing two before committing suicide, but the online footprint of the alleged shooter leave a few clues about the man’s potential views.

Police on Friday identified the shooter as John Russel Houser, a 59-year-old white man from Phenix City, Ala. Police described Houser as a “drifter” who had been staying at a Motel 6 in Lafayette since early July.

Police have not yet found a motive for the shooting and have not given any indication that Houser carried out the shooting due to political beliefs, but online profiles that appear linked to Houser reveal a man who may have held racist and extreme beliefs.

Louisiana State Police Col. Michael Edmonson told reporters on Friday that police were aware of online messages that many have been posted by Houser and were working to “put those pieces together.” But Edmonson also noted that, “just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said that police were “being very cautious with social media” as they try to sort fact from fiction.

Houser also had a history of political activism in Columbus, Ga., the city where he was raised, according to Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus. People who knew Houser described him as “strange” and said he didn’t “really didn’t trust government and anything about government.”

In the 1980s, he allegedly tried to hire a man to set fire to the offices of a lawyer who was representing owners of pornographic theaters, according to the Ledger Enquirer. However, the arsonist Houser was accused of trying to hire was a police informant.

Houser has allegedly posted messages to numerous online forums, suggesting that he held extreme right-wing views and sympathized with white supremacists. It cannot be independently confirmed that these online postings were made by Houser himself before the shooting. The postings on seem to match based on his age and location. There is less to connect Houser to the postings on Twitter and Golden Dawn that are cited below by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

An individual who went by “John Russell Houser” created a profile on, on which he included the phrases “believe media/gov’t censoring” and “believe US will be MAD MAX < 5 years.” Under the “Family” category, Houser wrote that “no family safe in US environment.” The profile identified the user as a 59-year-old male residing in Phenix City.

On that forum, Houser told participants to “stop considering political questions,ie stop making yourself unhappy.”

You have been in a maze created by the media/black block vote/business political alliance created for your long term dismay and discomfort.When a person,business,or country goes immoral[which includes foolish spending] the only thing you can do is let the thing run its course.The course of this country is very near end,no person of any record-keeping ability could deny this.

He also mentioned “The Bell Curve,” a book by the controversial conservative author Charles Murray and wrote that some people should be sterilized.

An individual who used the username “Rusty Houser” also posted comments on a forum for Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi political party in Greece, as the Southern Poverty Law Center noted.

“Do not mistake yourselves for one minute, the enemy sees all posted on this website. I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations.Look within yourselves,” he wrote in one comment.

He also made racist comments in comments on the Golden Dawn forum.

“I am doing my best everyday to help the world see the Golden Dawn as an escape from the no voice position they hold now in those countries controlled by the political alliance I call the establishment [business / media / Blacks$ immigrants that block vote]. It is my hope that all who are hated by the alliance will unite. If we are to have a chance to do so, before the coming financial collapse, we must act soon. It is my belief that a world financial collapse is coming soon,” he wrote in another comment.

An individual who went by the name Rusty Houser posted on that, “Hitler accomplished far more than any other,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And a Twitter handle for “john russell houser” published messages about the Westboro Baptist Church and censorship.

It’s not clear what Houser did for a living. However, he described himself as an entrepreneur in a LinkedIn profile page that includes the image of man who appears to be the suspect identified by police. Houser claimed in his profile that he once sold t-shirts and successfully flipped a house in Phenix City. The LinkedIn profile also lists Houser as the former operator of Rusty’s Buckhead Pub and the Peachtree Pub, both in Georgia.

Houser also served as the guest host on the “Rise and Shine” show on the Columbus, Ga. television station WLTZ, where he “invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it,” according to LinkedIn. A former host for the station confirmed to the Associated Press that Houser appeared on his show, where he allegedly advocated for people to commit violence against those involved in abortion.

Houser has a criminal record — he was arrested for arson and selling alcohol to minors, but he had not had any run-ins with law enforcement in the past few years, according to police.

CNN reported that Houser was denied a conceal carry permit in 2006 and was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009. The suspect’s wife sought a restraining order against Houser in 2008 because he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements,” according to the Associated Press.

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