Heartbreaking Details On The Two Women Killed In The Trainwreck Shooting [Update]

Photo: Treylan Arceneaux via AP
Update: More details are emerging about the man who shot and killed two women at a Louisiana movie theater Thursday night, wounding nine others, before killing himself. He was a radical anti-left wing conspiracy theorist with a history of mental illness, according to reports.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said John Russell Houser a 59-year-old white man, was active on anti-government message boards — where he idolized Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the Westboro Baptist Church, famous for picketing funerals.

“America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world,” reads a post attributed to Houser by the the SPLC. “I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.”

On Thursday, Houser walked into a 7:10 p.m. screening of the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck and sat and watched the movie "just like everyone else," according to the Lafayette police chief, Jim Craft. About 20 minutes into the screening, he stood up and started shooting the people in front of him, before turning the gun on himself.

The shooter had planned to flee, but when he saw that police were gathering outside the theater, he turned back inside and killed himself, the AP reports. Police Chief Craft described the scene as "horrific" in a press conference Thursday night.

The identities of the two women Houser killed were released on Friday. The first, Mayci Breaux, just 21, was a Lafayette resident. The clothing store where she worked closed on Friday to honor her and posted a remembrance on their Facebook page.
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Nothing ever prepares you for a loss... Much less the loss of such an amazing young woman. We are deeply saddened by...

Posted by coco eros on Friday, July 24, 2015
Mayci's mother spoke to the New York Daily News, saying, "I lost one of my best friends."

The second woman killed was Jillian Johnson, 33, who owned a gift shop called Red Arrow Workshop in Lafayette, according to the shop's Facebook page, and played in a folk band. Red Arrow, which has closed indefinitely, posted a photo and tribute to her.

Jillian E. Johnson (1982-2015). Our hearts are shattered. We will love you forever. She was a once-in-a-lifetime gal....

Posted by Red Arrow Workshop on Friday, July 24, 2015
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told reporters Thursday of the heroic actions of two schoolteachers in the crowd: One dived on her friend to save her, and another ran to pull the fire alarm.
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“I'm saddened at the terrible loss of life represented in tonight's tragic shooting at a movie theater in my hometown of Lafayette," Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) wrote in a posted statement. "[My wife] Bridget and I are praying for the families and friends of the victims at this difficult time. I will work with the Lafayette Police Department, local, state, and federal officials to get to the bottom of what happened tonight."

President Obama is beginning a two-day trip to Africa, but in an interview with the BBC just hours before the Lafayette shooting, he spoke about his frustration over America's continued epidemic of mass shootings, and his own failure to pass stronger gun laws.

"If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it's less than 100," the president said. "If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it's in the tens of thousands."

This is a breaking story. We'll continue to update.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the last name of of one of the shooting victims as Jacobs, not Johnson.
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