Tipsters help police seeking theater shooter’s motive

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Police investigating the Louisiana movie theater shootings are thanking the many people who have called in tips about John Russell Houser.

Investigators are trying to determine what prompted him to open fire in a Lafayette theater on Thursday night, killing two people and wounding nine before taking his own life.

They’re interviewing witnesses and studying Houser’s cell phone records, Internet postings and contacts in the Georgia and Alabama communities where he lived.

The portrait that’s emerging is one of a man with a history of angry and erratic behavior.

In 2008, Houser’s family persuaded a judge that he needed mental health treatment. In 1989, court records show another judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation after Houser was arrested for allegedly hiring an arsonist to torch his lawyer’s office.

A former neighbor says Houser flew a large Confederate flag outside his home and a Nazi swastika outside a bar he owned, and put “doomsday” fliers in his neighbors’ mailboxes.

Police say an initial report about Houser will likely be released next week.

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