Mental illness and access to guns stirs concerns for many - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mental illness and access to guns stirs concerns for many

PHENIX CITY, AL -

Nationwide concerns about gun access to those with a history of mental illness or violent outbursts hit close to home, as officials discuss the local connection of the alleged LA movie theater shooter.

Officials say they traced the gun John Houser used to kill two and injure nine back to Phenix City, where Houser lived for many years.

WTVM reached out to local Phenix City pawn shops, and all but Northside Pawn denies selling Houser a weapon.

At a press conference on Friday, Russell County officials described reasons why Houser was denied a permit to conceal carry.

 "We had the report of domestic violence against him and in 89 or 90 he was arrested for an arson case in Columbus., GA, so at the time he applied for his permit, he had the arson arrest in his history as well as the domestic violence report," said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.

The criminal background of John "Rusty" Houser, a 59-year-old Columbus native, came to light last week, as his alleged violent rampage in Louisiana claimed the lives of two women and injured nine in a Lafayette movie theater.

As in similar cases of public massacres, the mental state of each alleged shooter also comes into question, along with the big talker- where and how did they get a gun?

"We're having shootings after shootings and it's just so random, but it does seem to have a nexus. I do think there is a mental connection of the mental incapacity of some level with all of the issues. With all of the shootings they're all dealing with mental illness," said Taylor.

Documents from 2008 indicate Houser was involuntarily committed to a Columbus hospital because he posed a danger to himself and others.

The department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms say they traced the legal purchase of the gun used in the attack, back to a Phenix City pawn shop, bought in February 2014, meaning a history of violence and mental illness was already documented by the time Houser got hold of the weapon he used to kill and injure movie-goers.

Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal says due to Houser's history of mental illness, he should not have been allowed to buy a gun- but at this time, officials tell us Houser did purchased the gun legally.

Copyright WTVM 2015. All rights reserved.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Funeral for Dollar General shooting victim held Saturday

    Funeral for Dollar General shooting victim held Saturday

    Saturday, January 20 2018 3:54 PM EST2018-01-20 20:54:46 GMT
    (Source: Family)(Source: Family)

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The funeral for the shooting victim who was involved in a road rage incident was held Saturday afternoon. Lorenzo Freeman was killed after a road rage incident involving two other men at a Dollar General in Fort Mitchell. The funeral was held Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ozark, AL.  Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.

    More >>

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The funeral for the shooting victim who was involved in a road rage incident was held Saturday afternoon. Lorenzo Freeman was killed after a road rage incident involving two other men at a Dollar General in Fort Mitchell. The funeral was held Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ozark, AL.  Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.

    More >>
  • Hazmat team responds to situation at Auburn University

    Hazmat team responds to situation at Auburn University

    Saturday, January 20 2018 3:50 PM EST2018-01-20 20:50:36 GMT
    (Source: Auburn University)(Source: Auburn University)

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Auburn police and fire crews responded to a hazmat situation at Auburn University this afternoon. The incident occurred in Funchess hall at Auburn.  A hazardous chemical was reportedly poured down the drain during the cleanup process in one of the rooms being cleaned. The chemical did not go all the way down the drain and caused an odor in the building.  One person inside the building reported lightheadedness as a result of the fumes and i...

    More >>

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Auburn police and fire crews responded to a hazmat situation at Auburn University this afternoon. The incident occurred in Funchess hall at Auburn.  A hazardous chemical was reportedly poured down the drain during the cleanup process in one of the rooms being cleaned. The chemical did not go all the way down the drain and caused an odor in the building.  One person inside the building reported lightheadedness as a result of the fumes and i...

    More >>
  • More flu cases confirmed, doctors still recommend getting vaccinated

    More flu cases confirmed, doctors still recommend getting vaccinated

    Saturday, January 20 2018 4:32 PM EST2018-01-20 21:32:31 GMT
    (Source: WTVM)(Source: WTVM)
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Dr. Joseph Conklin with Columbus Regional Health said he's already seen his fair share of patients coming into his office, saying they have flu-like symptoms. "We're seeing a fair amount this year," he said. "Maybe a little more compared to last year." Numbers across the country only support his observation. The Centers for Disease Control reported 14,401 confirmed flu cases during the week of January 13, bringing the season's tot...More >>
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Dr. Joseph Conklin with Columbus Regional Health said he's already seen his fair share of patients coming into his office, saying they have flu-like symptoms. "We're seeing a fair amount this year," he said. "Maybe a little more compared to last year." Numbers across the country only support his observation. The Centers for Disease Control reported 14,401 confirmed flu cases during the week of January 13, bringing the season's tot...More >>
Powered by Frankly