John Russell Houser was a frequent poster at online political forums, spewing right-wing extremist views on race and immigration that could offer some insight into the massacre he was accused of committing.
Police identified Houser as the man who stood up in a movie theater in Lafayette on Thursday night and opened fire, killing two people and wounding nine others before taking his own life. Police released Houser’s identity early on Friday, and within hours a picture emerged of a drifter who harbored hatred of blacks and at times struggled with mental illness.
While investigators still have not discussed a motive for the shootings, some clues have come in the form of Houser’s online postings. Going by the nickname Rusty Houser, the 58-year-old had a strong online presence, with the Daily Beast uncovering many postings on topics ranging from immigration to the future of the United States.
He seemed to have a sense of foreboding for the future of the nation. On PoliticalForum.com, a user going by Rusty Houser once told a newcomer, “Jump in the deep end, I don’t think we have that long.”
Houser appeared to be particularly obsessed with censorship, especially in the form of suppressing White Power groups.
“Type in WHITE POWER GROUPS and you get mag articles about their never ending claims of racism, and no information of how to find White power groups you might want to join,” he wrote on DebatePolitics.
Houser himself was a onetime member of the media. His LinkedIn page noted that he served as a fill-in host for an early morning talk show in Columbus, Georgia, for WLTZ. Houser claimed that he “invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it.”
WLTZ denied that Houser was ever an employee of the station, however.
The show’s host, Calvin Floyd, said he was not entirely surprised that Houser would be accused of the movie theater shooting.
“The association I had with him was for entertainment,” he said. “He was very entertaining. He made for good TV and when it was over, you would leave shaking your head.”
Investigators added that they believe John Russell Houser may have had plans to escape after the movie theater shooting. They found various disguises in his car, and police said he initially tried to blend in with the crowd and slip out after the shooting, but turned back when he saw officers entering the theater. He ultimately took his own life.
[Image via LinkedIn]