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Lightning strike starts attic fire, displaces two families

A lightning strike hit a Baton Rouge duplex Thursday afternoon in the Gardere area, sparking a fire in the attic and displacing two families, St. George Fire Department Eldon Ledoux said. The fire department received a call around 4:40 p.m. about a fire at 8301 Ned Ave., Ledoux said. The fire was brought under control by 5:06… Continue reading →

Even if Lafayette killer were judicially committed in ‘08, he would’ve expired off national background check list by time he bought gun

Law enforcement and other emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly shooting at the Grand Theatre on Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. (Leslie Westbrook/The Advocate via AP)

Since John “Rusty” Houser opened fire in a Lafayette movie theater last week, his troubled mental health and ability to purchase a gun has been under a microscope. At one point in 2008, Houser’s family raised questions about his mental health before a couple different judges. But officials have said he was never formally committed to treatment… Continue reading →

Lafayette Crime Blotter for July 30

Arrests posted July 29, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. SIDNEY R. ARD: 30, of Crowley. He was booked on three counts of fugitive. BRIANA BELL: 19, of the 900 block of Gary Drive, Breaux Bridge. She was booked on misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and headlights. JAMES BENJAMIN:… Continue reading →

Man wanted in murder killed himself after Wednesday night shootout with U.S. Marshals Task Force in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE      Residents await answers as members of the Baton Rouge Police Department and other law enforcement personnel continue to investigate an officer involved shooting Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at the corner of Prescott and West Brookstown.

A suspect in a Lafayette murder died Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after a shootout in Baton Rouge with a U.S. Marshals Task Force, authorities said Thursday. U.S. Marshal Kevin Harrison said Lawrence Lynel Blackburn, 37, of Morgan City, died and a woman was wounded when a U.S. Marshals Task Force attempted… Continue reading →

Coroner identifies 37-year-old man killed in house fire early Thursday on Carlotta Street, near LSU campus

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Baton Rouge fire investigators check out the upstairs window of a house on Carlotta Street where a fatal fire occurred.

The blackened walls of an upstairs room could be seen Thursday morning through the shattered windows of a Carlotta Street house where a fire killed one man and seriously injured another. James Mobley, 37, died from high levels of carbon monoxide toxicity, said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark, who ruled his death… Continue reading →

LSU Police arrest administrative coordinator after audit reveals $82,000 missing from the theater department

David N. Rodriguez

An administrative coordinator who worked in the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building remained in jail Thursday after an internal audit revealed more than $82,000 missing from the theater department’s checking account. David N. Rodriguez Jr., 48, one of four employees with access to the department’s Campus Federal Credit Union account, told auditors he… Continue reading →

2 employees accused in theft of brass fittings

Two Louisiana Sugarcane Cooperative employees are accused in the theft of brass pipe fittings from the factory, according to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office. James Alexander, 41, of Breaux Bridge, and Jimmy Batiste, 57, of St. Martinville, were booked Wednesday, each on a count of illegal possession of stolen things over $1,500, the Sheriff’s Office… Continue reading →

Louisiana Sugarcane Cooperative employees booked in theft of brass pipe fittings in St. Martin Parish

Two Louisiana Sugarcane Cooperative employees are accused in the theft of brass pipe fittings from the factory, according to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office. James Alexander, 41, of Breaux Bridge, and Jimmy Batiste, 57, of St. Martinville, were booked Wednesday, each on a count of illegal possession of stolen things over $1,500, the Sheriff’s Office… Continue reading →

Attorney Joel Porter says DNA analysis shows he didn’t kill his wife 30 years ago

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Joel Porter passionately lays out the legal documentation that he says clears him of any suspicion in his wife's 1980s murder. Attorney Steve Irving, right,  listens.

When local attorney Joel Porter’s name surfaced last year in the cold-case investigation of his wife’s 1985 killing, he insisted he was innocent and sued a Baton Rouge police detective, claiming the officer defamed him by saying Porter had always been a suspect in the murder. Now Porter contends that the discovery of an unknown person’s DNA… Continue reading →

Lafayette Crime Blotter for July 29

Arrests posted July 28, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. LONDON ALEX: 19, of the 200 block of Pearl Street, Lafayette. He was booked on fugitive. HEATHER NICOLE ARNAUD: 33, of the 2800 block of Twin Lane, Maurice. She was booked on resisting an officer and four counts of warrant/bench warrant.… Continue reading →

Police release photos of movie theater gunman’s car in hopes of retracing his steps in south Louisiana

This undated photo provided by the Lafayette Police Department shows the car John Russel Houser was driving before he opened fire in a movie theater July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. Lafayette police said in an email Tuesday, July 28, that they are releasing the photographs in hopes that people may have seen the blue 1995 Lincoln Continental and may remember encountering Houser. (Lafayette Police Department via AP)

Police in the Lafayette have released photos of a car that a gunman was driving before he opened fire in a movie theater. Lafayette police said in an email Tuesday that they released the photographs in hopes that people may have seen the blue 1995 Lincoln Continental and may remember encountering John “Rusty” Houser. Mike Edmonson,… Continue reading →

Duplex sustains heavy damage in blaze

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a duplex early Wednesday on Lavinia Street, according to a news release from the Baton Rouge Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at 631 Lavinia St. just before 1 a.m. to find fire coming from one of the units in the duplex. Firefighters were able… Continue reading →

As investigation winds down on the Grand 16 Theatre mass shooting, Lafayette police turn attention to other shootings

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  A sign is seen attached to a light pole Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in response the shooting that left three dead, including the gunman, and nine injured last Thursday at The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, La. Police have turned the theater back over to its owners, but it has not yet re-opened.

Two moviegoers who suffered bullet wounds at the hands of John “Rusty” Houser remained hospitalized in Lafayette on Tuesday afternoon as the Coroner’s Office prepared to release the gunman’s body to his out-of-state relatives. After the 59-year-old Houser shot 11 people during a screening of the comedy film “Trainwreck” on Thursday night, he opened his mouth… Continue reading →

Two Lafayette men injured in North Loop shooting Tuesday

Two Lafayette men were hospitalized with moderate injuries Tuesday afternoon after someone shot them three times each in the 100 block of North Loop. Police responded to the scene about 3:50 p.m. and found the two men, ages 20 and 27, suffering from bullet wounds, according to a Lafayette Police Department news release. The men… Continue reading →

Lafayette Crime Blotter for July 28

Arrests posted July 28, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. LIONEL AMOS JR.: 51, of the 300 block of Sunset Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on careless operation and misdemeanor hit-and-run driving. WAYNE EDWARD ANGELLE: 20, homeless, Lafayette. He was booked on shoplifting and disturbing the peace by intoxication. Mary… Continue reading →

Lafayette theater gunman could legally buy handgun because he was never involuntarily committed for psychiatric care

John Russell Houser

The gunman who shot 11 people in a Lafayette movie theater last week wasn’t added to a database of people prohibited from buying firearms because he had not been involuntarily committed, Georgia officials said Monday, although John “Rusty” Houser’s troubled mental health did send him into hospital care. These statements help explain how Houser legally bought… Continue reading →

Ninety-three residents evacuated in two-alarm fire at Sunrise Senior Living in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The St. George Fire Department, EBR Sheriff's Office, Baton Rouge EMS and Acadian Ambulance responded to a two-alarm fire at Sunrise Senior Living on Siegen Lane Monday night.

A two-alarm fire that originated in the laundry room of the Sunrise Senior Living center on Siegen Lane caused the evacuation of 93 residents and one injury Monday evening. All Sunrise residents were safe and accounted for, but one staff member suffered from minor smoke inhalation, said Eldon Ledoux, spokesman for the St. George Fire Department.… Continue reading →

Police relinquish custody of Lafayette theater, now focusing on trove of information gathered about the shooter

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP One of the remaining cars is picked up from the Grand Theater parking lot  Saturday July 25, 2015 after last thursdays shooting in Lafayette, La.

Police on Monday afternoon relinquished custody of the Lafayette theater where a gunman last week killed two people and injured nine before turning the gun on himself, now turning their attention to processing the massive trove of information collected after Thursday’s shootings. Although authorities have not released many new details about 59-year-old John “Rusty” Houser since… Continue reading →

One dead, another injured in shooting Monday afternoon in Lafayette

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Kenneth Boudreaux, Lafayette City-Parish councilman for District 4, speaks to bystanders as police investigate the scene of a homicide Monday, July 27, 2015, at a home in the 300 block of Sunnyside Lane near Pinhook Road in Lafayette, La. One person was killed and another critically injured.

An 18-year-old male was killed and a 19-year-old was critically injured in a shooting Monday afternoon inside a house on Sunnyside Lane. Lafayette police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton said five people were inside the home at 318 Sunnyside Lane off Pinhook when two men drove up in a red pickup truck, walked into the home and… Continue reading →

Video camera inside church captures two burglars in the act

A small video camera tucked away in the sanctuary of a Port Allen church on Saturday night captured the images of two males burglarizing the building, which was one of three Baptist churches burglarized in the town that night. Kevin Cyrus, a detective with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, said… Continue reading →

Lafayette Parish prison bookings for July 27, 2015

Arrests posted July 27, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: BARRY JOSEPH ABSHIRE: 38, of the 600 block of Madison Street, Lafayette. He was booked on fugitive. DYLAN BURGESS: 19, of the 100 block of Squirrel Run, Youngsville. He was booked on contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.… Continue reading →

Five suspected of DWI between Saturday and Monday in East Baton Rouge Parish

Authorities arrested at least five people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Monday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: — William Bias, 21, 1812 Andy Circle, Bossier City, first-offense DWI and possession of alcohol… Continue reading →

Three wounded in shooting outside Baton Rouge nightclub

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Baton Rouge Police are investigating a shooting that injured three early Sunday morning at the Club Bella Noche on Plank Road near Hooper Road, July 26, 2015.

Baton Rouge police are investigating a shooting that left three people injured and one man in custody after he returned fire with the shooter early Sunday in the parking lot of a Plank Road nightclub. A group of people walked out of Club Bella Noche around 1:50 a.m. when someone in a car began shooting at… Continue reading →

Four theater shooting victims still in hospital; police prepare to return movie theater to operators

Mourners leave flowers outside of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic church to remember and honor the victims of a deadly shooting at the Grand 16 theater, Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Lafayette, La. John Russell Houser fired on the audience with a semi-automatic handgun about 20 minutes into Thursday night's showing of "Trainwreck", killing at least two people and wounding nine with a semi-automatic handgun.  (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

A cluster of news vans remained parked outside The Grand 16 Theatre on Sunday, with bright yellow police tape still separating the crime scene from the numerous local, state and national reporters camped on the parking lot’s scorching pavement since their arrivals following the fatal shooting Thursday night. Police expected to put the building back in the… Continue reading →

ACLU weighs in on Jindal’s executive order protecting mourners during funerals for theater shooting victims

The ACLU of Louisiana responded Sunday to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s executive order for law enforcement protection against protests at the funerals of the Lafayette theater shooting victims, calling the governor’s action “misguided” and “contradictory” with the potential to infringe on protesters’ rights. Jindal issued the order Saturday after the controversial Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas,… Continue reading →

Bicyclist killed after being hit by car in Lafayette

Lafayette police responded to a car accident Saturday night that left a male bicyclist dead near Interstate 49. The woman driving the vehicle told police she was traveling north on Northwest Frontage Road on I-49 when the bicyclist merged onto the road, police spokesman Cpl. Paul L. Mouton said in a news release. The accident occurred at… Continue reading →

Lafayette theater gunman bought gun despite federal restrictions on gun purchases by mentally ill people

John Russell Houser

Lafayette theater gunman John Houser bought his weapon legally last year from an Alabama gun shop, despite his family seeking to have him committed against his will for mental health treatment six years earlier. If Houser was involuntarily committted, that purchase would be in direct contrast to a federal law that prohibits the sale or transfer of… Continue reading →