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Lafayette theater gunman was not involuntarily committed, didn’t enter database restriction gun rights

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 being involuntarily committed for mental health treatment six years earlier. That purchase appears to be in direct contrast to a federal law that prohibits the sale or transfer of firearms to people who have been placed against their will in… Continue reading →

Lafayette Parish crime blotter for July 25, 2015

Arrests posted July 25, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office website: JACOB THOMAS BORDELON: 20, homeless, Lafayette. He was booked on felony distribution or possession with intent to distribute Schedule I narcotics and transactions involving proceeds from drug offenses. EUGENE WARREN BRIAN JR.: 60, of the 100… Continue reading →

Man wanted in Thursday night shooting on Bayou Fountain Avenue

Francisco Molina

East Baton Rouge sheriff’s detectives are looking for a 21-year-old man wanted in the 10:34 p.m. Thursday shooting in the 8400 block of Bayou Fountain Avenue that left another man injured. Francisco Molina, 8083 Bayou Fountain Ave., is wanted on counts of attempted murder, aggravated damage to property and illegal use of a weapon, Sheriff’s Office… Continue reading →

Undignified deaths: Carcasses of slain hogs placed outside Cortana Mall, O’Neal Lane Walmart

Baton Rouge Animal Control Center is investigating the circumstances surrounding two dead pigs someone left on display Friday at Cortana Mall and the O’Neal Lane Wal-Mart. Hilton Cole, director of East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control and Rescue Center, said a 120-pound female hog was propped in a sitting position on a bench outside the mall… Continue reading →

Lafayette theater shooter fired first 10 shots in less than a minute, police say

John “Rusty” Houser parked his blue, 1995 Lincoln Continental near an exit beside The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, got out and placed his keys atop one of the car’s tires. During his three-week stay in the city, the man from Phenix City, Alabama, had visited the theater before. Like another 25 people there on Thursday evening,… Continue reading →

Dwight 'Bo' Ramsay, wife Gerry -- owners of Aries Marine Corp. -- injured in Lafayette theater shooting

. Episcopal School of Acadiana Headmaster Paul Baker, in a note sent Friday to alumni, parents and other school backers, confirmed that Dwight "Bo" Ramsay and his wife Gerry Ramsay were two of the 11 victims who were shot at the Grand 16 Thursday night. The Ramsays, who are owners of Aries Marine Corp. and are… Continue reading →

Killed in Lafayette theater shooting, Mayci Breaux known as 'beautiful person'; fiance shot but expected to recover

Photo provided by Facebook -- Mayci Breaux

Hundreds of people gathered Friday at Church of the Assumption in downtown Franklin, Mayci Breaux’s hometown some 55 miles southeast of Lafayette. The mourners recited the rosary before departing the church in small groups, many wiping tears from their eyes and exchanging hugs, still in shock over the death of the 21-year-old college student. Breaux,… Continue reading →

Lafayette theater shooting victim Jillian Johnson 'a once-in-a-lifetime gal'

Photo provided by Facebook -- Jillian Johnson

A small, blue vase filled with bright blooms of flowers sat in front of Lafayette’s Red Arrow Workshop early Friday morning — a memorial that grew throughout the day. As friends placed sunflowers, roses and other colorful blossoms in front of the boutique, admirers of Jillian Johnson made sure everyone knew she was loved. The… Continue reading →

Inside look at 'unstable' Lafayette theater gunman John Houser who fought mental issues, once trashed home

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY--  John Russell Houser nearly destroyed the house where he lived in Phenix City, Ala., after it was foreclosed upon and purchased, pictured here on Friday, July 24, 2015, including pouring purple epoxy on the driveway. Houser shot and killed three people including himself Thursday night at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette, La. ORG XMIT: LABAT

John “Rusty” Houser, the Lafayette theater shooter, suffered for decades from recurring mental health problems, including manic depression and bipolar disorder, according to law enforcement officials and several people who knew him. He became something of a drifter after being evicted from his Alabama home last year —… Continue reading →

Latest from Lafayette theater shooting: Plenty of clues as John Houser's troubled background comes to light

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Col. Mike Edmonson with Louisiana State Police holds up a photo of  John R. Houser, the man who shot and killed three people including himself Thursday night at The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, La. Thursday night, during a 7:30 a.m. press conference Friday, July 24, 2015, outside the theater.

. Investigators are now pursuing numerous leads that poured in when police released John "Rusty" Russell Houser’s name and photograph Friday morning, the day after he fatally shot two people in a Lafayette movie theater Thursday before killing himself. A friend and authorities said Friday Houser had mental health problems, personal struggles and was evicted from… Continue reading →

Ali Viator Martin, Jena Legnon Meaux -- two Jeanerette Senior High teachers -- hailed as heroes in fatal Lafayette theater shooting

Heroic teachers Jena Beaux, left, and Ali Martin via GoFundMe.

Two Jeanerette Senior High teachers, Ali Viator Martin and Jena Legnon Meaux, have been called heroes for their actions in Thursday night’s fatal shooting at the Grand Theatre. Suspected gunman John Russel Houser shot each woman, wounding them both in the leg. Martin was released from the hospital sometime late Thursday or early Friday while Meaux was expected to… Continue reading →

Jockeys accused of race fixing, using shocking device at Evangeline Downs

Lesean Conyers

A sibling pair of veteran Acadiana horse jockeys with successful but controversial histories in winning races are implicated in an alleged race-fixing scheme at the Evangeline Downs racetrack in Opelousas. Louisiana State Police on Thursday announced the arrests of brothers Joe Patin Jr., 46, and Billy Patin, 51, who are accused — along with 24-year-old newcomer… Continue reading →

Three dead, including gunman, 9 injured after Lafayette movie theater shooting; shooter killed himself when police arrived

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Law enforcement and other emergency personnel respond to the scene of a shooting at the Grand 16 movie theater Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. Multiple injuries are reported and the shooter is presumed dead.

As police entered the Lafayette movie theater where a 58-year-old gunman had fired into a crowd Thursday night, the shooter turned his weapon on himself, Police Chief Jim Craft said... Continue reading →

Attorney General: Jeanerette city marshal can oversee the police department

The state Attorney General’s Office says Jeanerette’s city marshal can enter into an agreement to oversee the city’s police department as long as the city compensates him for his time and expertise. City Marshal Fernest “Pacman” Martin Sr. requested the opinion in early July when some of the town’s aldermen proposed having him oversee the police department.… Continue reading →

Lafayette Crime Blotter for July 23

Arrests posted July 22, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. OSMEN L. ALEXANDER: 22, of the 1000 block of Belle Terre Drive, St. Martinville. He was booked on simple battery. BRIAN ALLSUP: 51, of the 8600 block of Harry Drive, Youngsville. He was booked on disturbing the peace. Devante Javon… Continue reading →

Police find woman dead in vehicle parked outside Baker Walmart, say she's linked to missing person’s report

Baker police on Wednesday found a woman dead in the driver’s seat of a vehicle linked to a Baton Rouge Police missing person’s report and parked outside the Baker WalMart, 14507 Plank Road, Chief Mike Knaps said. Knaps said police found the woman’s decomposed body about 3:45 p.m., and Emergency Medical Services confirmed she was dead at… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge woman indicted on sex-trafficking counts involving a minor

A Baton Rouge woman accused of running a sex trafficking business from her home, and prostituting a minor in the process, was indicted Wednesday on federal charges. Kellie M. Dominique, 36, of Baton Rouge, is accused of running a prostitution business from various locations in Baton Rouge in 2013, and advertising it on a website called… Continue reading →

Louisiana man charged in Myrtle Beach car crash that kills two, injures six

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Authorities in South Carolina have charged a Louisiana man in connection with a crash that killed two girls and left six people hospitalized. Local media outlets report 47-year-old Neil Joseph DeJean of Duson, Louisiana, is charged with two counts of reckless homicide caused by injury from a vehicle and open container of alcohol in a… Continue reading →

Opelousas man booked in stabbing death of wife’s ex-husband

An Opelousas man is dead and another is accused of manslaughter after a Wednesday afternoon stabbing in the 300 block of Mingo Circle. Dimmick Guidry Jr., 66, stabbed his wife’s ex-husband in the chest during an altercation at Guidry’s Mingo Circle home, Opelousas Police spokesman Corey Leger said. Police had not released the victim’s name… Continue reading →

Duson man, accused of hitting a pedestrian with his car before fleeing, surrenders Wednesday, police report

A Duson man arrested Wednesday, accused of hit-and-run driving that injured a pedestrian, told police he left the scene because he thought someone had thrown something at his car when he felt the impact of hitting the 30-year-old woman. Police arrested Joshua Pitre, 35, who came forward Wednesday morning after television news stations aired information about… Continue reading →

Investigators called to suspicious fire at vacant Baton Rouge fourplex

Fire investigators were called to the scene of a suspicious fire Wednesday afternoon after St. George firefighters doused a blaze at a vacant fourplex that had no utilities connected, said Eldon Ledoux, spokesman for the St. George Fire Department, in a news release. Firefighters were dispatched to the multi-family home, 8603 Rush Ave., at 1:03 p.m.… Continue reading →

LUS Fiber agreement amended to stop double tax payment to city-parish

Advocate staff file photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Seth Dahlen, with Ontrac and LUS Fiber, installs components of a fiber optic wifi network in Park Sans Souci in 2014  in downtown Lafayette. The network provides free high-speed internet to attendees of the Downtown Alive series.

City-parish government revised an agreement governing Lafayette’s city-owned fiber Internet system, excusing it from a provision that would have had it pay additional money to the city on top of existing taxes it’s already paid for several years. Both the Lafayette City-Parish Council and Lafayette Public Utilities Authority unanimously approved the revision at each body’s Tuesday… Continue reading →

Lafayette Crime Blotter for July 22

Arrests posted July 21, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. LANCE FERNAND BERNARD: 21, of the 3000 block of Dixon Avenue, Baton Rouge. He was booked on warrant/bench warrant. JENNIFER M. BOXIE: 40, of the 100 block of Dunaway Street, Carencro. She was booked on five counts of felony bank fraud.… Continue reading →

Man suffers leg wound after shooting Tuesday in Baton Rouge

A man was shot and injured after two individuals fired shots at 6680 Hanks Drive on Tuesday evening, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. Emergency Medical Services responded to a 911 call about a shooting on Hanks Drive, EMS spokesman Mike Chustz said, but found no victim at the scene. Hicks said investigators… Continue reading →

Keith Leleux admits to strangling 61-year-old woman in 2008, sentenced to life in prison

Keith Leleux

A New Iberia man pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Tuesday in the 2008, cold-case strangulation of 61-year-old Judy Blanchard Landry. State District Judge Keith Comeaux sentenced Keith Overton Leleux, now 60, to life in prison after he confessed to choking Landry until she passed out, then cinching zip ties around her neck until she died from… Continue reading →