The 59-year-old Alabama man who killed two people and himself on Thursday at a Lafayette, Louisiana movie theater had a long Internet trail in which he cheered the demise of the U.S. and “saluted” Muslim fundamentalists.
The shooter, identified as John Russell Houser, was no radical Islamist, however. Instead, he appears to have been a Christian who found kinship with others who oppose what they believe is the U.S.’s anti-religion liberalism.
Houser opened fire during a showing of the new movie “Trainwreck.” He reportedly fired 13 times, injuring nine and killing two. From Phenix City, Ala., Houser, who went by the nickname “Rusty,” allegedly had his vehicle parked near the theater exit as part of a getaway plan, but turned the gun on himself when police arrived.
Described as a drifter with no ties to Lafayette, Houser’s most recent Internet activity shows up in January, days after Islamic terrorists killed 16 people in Paris over the course of three days.
A Rusty Houser who shares the same birth month as Thursday’s shooter opened up a profile at the online forum, USMessageBoard on Jan. 10. His profile entry reads: “Hitler accomplished far more than any other through ‘pragmatically forming.'”
And in one thread, Houser commented on so-called Muslim “no-go” zones which are said to exist in some neighborhoods in some European cities.
“Bring no-go to the US. I want in. Yes, I am saluting the fundamentalist Muslims. They have stood against evil,” Houser wrote.
And in another, Houser cheered Muslim extremists for defending their religion.
“Yes it’s true, Muslims are alone in shutting down liberals that mock their God. They have my complete Christian respect.”
“I’m with all who hate the filth farm known as the US,” he wrote in another post entitled “Islamists and ‘the right to offend.'”
Others have pointed to a Twitter account operated by a John Russell Houser in 2013. The account has two tweets, one of which lends support to Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious anti-gay church in Topeka, Kan. whose members picket the funerals of U.S. soldiers.
The Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America[members not brainwashed].
— john russell houser (@jrustyhouser) June 5, 2013
In another tweet, Houser complained about Internet censorship and liberal media.
If you don't think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do.
— john russell houser (@jrustyhouser) June 6, 2013
A John Russell Houser is also registered to the website Tea Party Nation. That user’s profile, which was registered in 2013, shows no activity. (RELATED: Tea Party Leader Says He Doesn’t Know Louisiana Movie Theater Shooter
On another website called “Fellowship of the Minds,” Houser posted: “America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world. I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.”
That poster is clearly the same Houser who opened fire in the theater Thursday. He posted his phone number in the comments section on that site. It matches the one Houser posted to his LinkedIn profile page.
According to that page, Houser owned or operated pubs in Georgia and worked as a real estate developer in the mid-2000s.