A look back into the life of John 'Rusty' Houser

A look back into the life of John 'Rusty' Houser

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The man police say is responsible for killing two people and injuring several others before pulling the trigger on himself in the Lafayette, LA has many ties to GA and AL. He also has a criminal history.

John Russell Houser also known as "Rusty" was known to have a troubled past according to many who knew him. The 59-year old was born in Columbus, GA and spent time in LaGrange as a business owner. He lived off and on at a home in Phenix City, AL for about 10 years.

John Houser graduated from Columbus High School in 1973 before moving on Columbus State University then known as Columbus College and earning an accounting degree.

He was later diagnosed with mental illness. He spent time in a Columbus hospital and the East Alabama Mental Health Center. According to court documents from Carroll County, he posed a danger to himself and others.

He was arrested for arson in Columbus about 25 years ago also for theft in 1999 and convicted of selling alcohol to minors connected to his business in LaGrange. In Russell County, he was also denied a permit for a concealed carry weapon in 2006 because of the domestic violence report filed by his wife and the arson arrest in Columbus.

"Unless there are some specific things in your background, so today it's a lot more strict on who gets a pistol permit on what the Sheriff can do," said Sheriff Heath Taylor.

Houser went on to become a regular at city council meetings in Columbus and was very politically involved in different communities. His father was a former tax in Columbus and wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps until he ran into trouble with the law.

Columbus Police Department arrest records show that Houser was arrested for theft by taking for stealing his opponents campaign signs while he was running for tax commissioner is 1996.

Friends who knew the Chattahoochee Valley native, authorities say killed two people and injured 9 others, say they couldn't believe Houser was involved in the senseless act. Mona Boutwell and her husband lived next door to his mother before she moved away years ago.

"That was devastating, that you know someone. I didn't think Rusty would ever do that. My husband did, but I didn't and it's because he talked in depth with him whenever he would come over and visit," said Boutwell.

And now authorities in Lafayette are probing more into Houser's background to try to figure out a motive into the shooting.

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