(CN) – The man who stood and opened fire on patrons in a Lafayette, La. multiplex Thursday night was a 59-year-old drifter from Alabama, investigators said on Friday.
During a press conference Friday morning, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft identified the shooter as John Houser, but said little is known about him other than that he recently moved from Alabama to Lafayette, where he was staying in a motel.
Craft said deputies who searched Houser’s room would disguises, including various glasses and wigs. They also said the license plate on Houser’s 1995 blue Lincoln Continental did not match the vehicle.
The incident, which occurred during a 7:30 p.m. showing of the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck,” left three people dead and nine wounded.
It occurred three years after James Holmes opened fire in a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver, killing 12 and wounding 70 others. last week, a jury convicted Holmes on 165 counts of murder, attempted murder and other charges, rejecting an insanity defense for the July 20, 2012 attack.
Witnesses to Thursday night’s events said Houser stood up about 20 minutes into the movie and shot the two people sitting directly in front of him. He then turned his handgun on the crowd.
Police arrived on the scene so quickly, that Houser was still firing when they initially entered the theater. He reportedly tried to escape by blending into the crowd, but turned his gun on himself when he say large numbers of police converging on the parking lot.
In all, police believe Houser fired at least 13 times. Craft said the victims range from teenagers to people in their 60s, and that the injuries they suffered vary from non life-threatening to critical.
Upon learning of the shooting “Trainwreck” star Amy Schumer tweeted “My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.”
The White House, meanwhile, announced that President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting aboard Air Force One, which is en route to Africa.
Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a statement in which he said his organization was “deeply saddened by yet another mass shooting in America.”
“Two innocent people dead, several more are injured and hundreds are terrorized all while taking part in one of our country’s most beloved pastimes – a night at the movies,” Gross said. “As we await further details from the investigation, it will be important to learn whether he legally had any business owning a firearm, and, if not, finding out how he got one. As we wait, our hearts, prayers and thoughts go out to everyone impacted by the terrible tragedy.”
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