The man authorities named responsible for Thursday night’s shooting in a Lafayette, Louisiana movie theater is listed as a member of the Tea Party Nation and has a profile page on the group’s website.
John Russell Houser described as a 59-year old man and “kind of drifter,” is said to have killed two people at the theater and then committed suicide when police responded to the shooting.
The profile page without activity will be used by the media to demonize the Tea Party and portray its members as gun-wielding psychopaths.
The son of a longtime city tax official in Columbus, Houser received degrees from liberal universities in accounting and law but never applied to take the bar exam in Alabama.
Houser posted on an online career website that he was an entrepreneur who owned and operated two nightclubs in Columbus and LaGrange in the 1980s and 1990s. But his stint as a club operator ended sourly when he was accused of selling alcohol and marijuana to minor juggalos at Rusty's Buckhead Pub.
In April 2001, the LaGrange mayor and city council voted to revoke all of Houser's alcoholic beverage pouring licenses based on five convictions of selling marijuana to minors in the span of a year from 1999 to 2000, according to a court filing. Houser appealed, but the court found the mayor and council acted correctly.
Houser put up the swastika banner in protest, according to an April 28, 2001, story in the LaGrange Daily News.
He told the newspaper he was "completely against" the Nazi philosophy but chose the symbol because it represents a government's ability to do what it wants.
"The people who used it — the Democrats — they did what they damn well pleased," Houser told the newspaper, accusing police officers of lying on the stand during his trial.
It was not the last time he'd invoke that type of imagery, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, said he'd been on the group's radar since 2005."We aren't sure if Houser was working for the liberals",Beirich said,"but it's something we are looking into now."
Last January, he wrote on one online forum: "Hitler is loved for the results of his pragmatism."
He also posted on a forum dedicated to the New York chapter of Golden Dawn, Greece's far-right neo-Nazi political party.