THE DAY AFTER: More Updates On The Lafayette Shooting

UPDATE (8:51 a.m.) – The Lafayette Advertiser had profiles of Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux that really tug at your heart. From the Jillian Johnson profile…

Johnson was a well-known Lafayette businesswoman and musician. She was a co-owner of the boutique store Red Arrow Workshop, along with her husband; as well as Parish Ink, a popular T-shirt business, which she started with her brother. Both shops feature items that focus on Lafayette and Louisiana culture, food and music.

“Anybody who’s ever been here and who has any kind of thirst for anything culture-wise will find that this is a place that really has no bounds,” Johnson told The Daily Advertiser about the stores last year. “If you don’t like what our culture is, that’s one thing. But to say that it doesn’t exist is absurd.”

She was also a member of the local band The Figs and co-founder of Acadiana Food Circle.

In a 2012 interview with The Advertiser, Johnson said she lived by the values “be nice, do good work, try hard, listen, love.” She called “do good work” the best advice she was ever given.

“My dad used to say that to me before I left for school in the morning,” Johnson said at the time. “I didn’t realize it was totally my lifelong mantra until I was in my 20s.”

And from the one on Mayci Breaux…

Breaux was a native of Franklin, which is about an hour east of Lafayette. According to her Facebook page, she worked at coco eros, a women’s clothing store in Lafayette. Her page also indicates that she has studied at LSU-Eunice.

“Nothing ever prepares you for a loss … Much less the loss of such an amazing young woman,” coco eros wrote on its Facebook page Friday morning. “We are deeply saddened by this loss. Many of you had come to know and love Mayci and we ask that you pray for her family and friends during this tragic time.”

UPDATE (8:40 a.m.) – Three tweets from the Advocate’s Jim Mustian, who had Houser’s name last night and probably tweeted it out a little too early (Lafayette police chief Jim Craft and Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson both howled about not releasing the name before the initial investigation was complete).

The gun-grabbing ghouls are going to make this a “teachable moment” about gun control if they can, but this situation pretty clearly looks like a teachable moment about mental health in America.

john russell houser

We have an identification of the shooter in last night’s movie theater massacre. His name is John Russell Houser, 59, described as a “drifter” from Alabama who had been in Lafayette for only a couple of weeks…

Craft also identified the deceased victims as Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson. Breaux died on the scene and Johnson died at the hospital. Breaux, 21, was from Franklin. Johnson, 33, was from Lafayette.

One victim was still listed in critical condition Friday morning, Craft said. Two victims have been released from the hospital.

Craft described Houser as a “drifter” from Phenix City, Alabama. He had been estranged from his family, he said. Police are still searching for a motive. During a search of Houser’s room in Motel 6 on University Avenue, police found wigs and other items that could be used as disguises, Craft said. His car was parked near a theater exit and police believe his intent was to escape after the shooting. Craft said he spotted police approaching him in the theater and decided to take his own life.

An emotional Craft said it’s frustrating not knowing the shooter’s motive. “Why would you come here and do something like this?” he asked during a news conference Friday morning.

Craft said that the investigators pieced together what happened, which essentially was that Houser sat in the back of the theater during the 7:00 showing of Train Wreck, and 20 minutes into the movie he stood up and began shooting – killing Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson, who were immediately in front of him, immediately and injuring nine others. At that point people began running for the exits, particularly when one of the two teachers Gov. Jindal praised last night pulled the fire alarm, and Houser went with the crowd out of the back exit. But then he saw a pair of Lafayette Police officers in the parking lot, turned around and went back into the theater and shot himself.

The investigators believe it was Houser’s intention to make a getaway, but he somehow lost his nerve when he saw the police. That’s an indication that Houser is like a lot of other nuts who look to commit mass murder – they’re interested in a mass murder, not a gunfight, and as soon as they see people with guns it’s over.

Two of the nine injured have been released from the hospital, and one is still in critical condition.

More as it comes in. Click here for the original story and last night’s updates.




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