New: Click here to read all the reports that the Phenix City Police Department has on Houser.
PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — The gunman who shot up a Lafayette, LA movie theater, killing himself and two victims, had a troubled past with roots in Alabama.
John Russell Houser’s last known address was on 32nd Street in Phenix City, according to the Russell County Sheriff, Heath Taylor. The home was foreclosed on, and bought at auction in 2014, by a family who had known Houser for decades.
“That wasn’t the guy that I went to church with,” said Norman Bone, who bought the house for his daughter and her boyfriend. “Fine guy; loved his wife and child.”
After he bought the house, Bone said he and his family knocked on the door to ask Houser how long he’d need to move out. Bone said Houser shouted profanities and threats, and told the family he wouldn’t leave.
“We got a lawyer, went to court, he never showed up,” said Beth Bone, who was going to move into the house with her boyfriend. “We came over the next day with the police, walked in and [Houser] had just destroyed the house.”
Bone and her boyfriend, Dan Ramsel, said that Houser had poured paint all over the floors and walls, ripped cabinets apart, poured cement down all of the drains and toilets, defecated all over the house, mutilated goldfish and scattered the remains, and epoxy glued all of the switches on the circuit breaker.
But, according to Bone, Ramsel and the Russell County Sheriff, Houser hadn’t just badly vandalized the house.
“He even booby trapped it,” Ramsel said. “[Houser] disconnected the fireplace with the gas line and had gas cans all over the house– different chemicals.”
“He could have blown the whole house up, and the whole neighborhood,” Bone said.
That happened in March of 2014. After extensive renovations, the house is ready to move in.
Houser was out of sight and out of mind for the Bone family. Beth Bone said she’d learned three months ago, via Facebook, that Houser was living in Ohio.
Then, Norman Bone got a phone call early Friday morning from the FBI. Agents wanted to know about Houser.
“We asked them, ‘Why are you doing this?’ They said, ‘You’ll find out in the news,” Beth said.
Even before Houser’s name hit the airwaves Friday, Beth said she had a conversation with Ramsel, which now gives her chills.
“[Ramsel] said, ‘I bet you that [Houser] is crazy enough, that he might be the shooter in Louisiana,’” Bone said. “I said, ‘There is no way. I mean, he’s crazy, but he didn’t do anything to these people over there.”
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News