Louisiana shooter denied pistol permit in 2006, had several legal run-ins

Suspect faced charges of theft, domestic violence, and harassment in recent years

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) – 22News’ sister station WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia was able to obtain a copy of Louisiana theater shooting suspect John Russel Houser’s police record from the Phenix City (Alabama) Police Department.

It includes the fact that Houser was denied a pistol permit in October 2006.

He was also charged with theft in June 2011.

In addition, Houser was charged with harassment in 2007 and domestic violence in October of 2005.

His record included him being listed as the complaintant in several civil matters.

Russell County, Ala. Sheriff Heath Taylor said Houser was evicted from his Phenix City rental property; Houser was served eviction notice on March 25, 2014.

After Houser was evicted and served papers, Houser destroyed some of the property in the residence. A criminal mischief complaint was filed, but Sheriff Taylor said he didn’t know if an arrest warrant was ever issued.

In 2006, Houser applied for a concealed carry permit, but it was denied because he had an arrest record at the time for arson out of Columbus. Between the arrest for the arson and some indication of mental health issues, the permit was denied.

Houser was treated by East Alabama Mental Health in 2008 and 2009.

UPDATE (11:09 a.m.): News 3 has confirmed that House was previously denied a pistol permit in Russell County.

According to police records, the permit was denied back in October 2006.

PREVIOUS REPORTING: Police in Lafayette, Louisiana have confirmed the man who opened fire at a movie theater Thursday evening as a Phenix City native.

59-year-old John Houser fired a handgun 13 times inside the theater, killing two people and wounding at least nine others before fatally shooting himself, according to police.

According to Houser’s LinkedIn profile, he spent multiple years working in the Columbus, Phenix City and LaGrange areas.

Past experience listed on the profile include “Owner/OperatorEntrepreneur” at Rusty’s Buckhead Pub in LaGrange (April 1998 – July 2000,) “Owner/Operator” at Peachtree Pub in Columbus (March 1979 – August 1980,) as well as “Rise and Shine WLTZ,” where Houser says he was a Guest Host one day per week (January, 1993.) WLTZ has since confirmed that Houser as a past guest-host for the show.

In addition, the profile says he was a guest of Doug Kellet on WRCG talk show on 13 occasions.

The profile also mentions him receiving a BBA in Accounting at Columbus State University (1988-1991.) We reached out to CSU, and the institution has confirmed that Houser received his accounting degree back in 1988.

Police said Houser was sitting in a packed movie theater when he stood up about 20 minutes into the showing of “Trainwreck” and began firing into the crowd. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the gunman parked his car near the theater’s exit door and was intent on escaping, but couldn’t because police arrived so quickly.

Authorities have not determined a motive. They searched a motel room he had been staying in and found wigs and other disguises.

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