Officials in AL say alleged theater shooter was treated for mental illness

RAW: Officials in AL say alleged theater shooter was treated for mental illness

PHENIX CITY, AL (WAFB) - Authorities in Alabama held a news conference Friday afternoon to give information about the suspected Lafayette theater shooter.

An Alabama sheriff said John Russell Houser, 59, of Phenix City, Alabama, was treated for mental illness in 2008 and 2009.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said Houser lived in the city off and on from 2005-2014. A domestic violence complaint was filed against Houser in October 2005, but he was never prosecuted or arrested.

According to the sheriff, Houser applied for a concealed gun permit in 2006, but was denied because of the domestic violence report as well as a previous arrest for arson in Columbus, Georgia.

Officials say Houser was served an eviction notice in 2014 for his house in Phenix City, but returned later to cause some damage to the property. According to the report, concrete was poured down plumping pipes and damage was done to the gas pipes coming into the house.

"That was dangerous and could've been extremely dangerous," Taylor said.

The owner, who bought the house in foreclosure, filed a report, but no charges were brought up.

There was no other addresses listed for Houser in Russell County after 2014. Police think that is when he started moving around. Houser was originally from Columbus, Georgia and at one point ran for office there.

Houser killed two women and injured nine others, including one victim who remains in critical condition at a Lafayette hospital, in a mass theater shooting that happened Thursday night at the Grand 16 Theater on Johnson Street in Lafayette. Houser died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound before police were able to get into the theater.

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