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'Duck Dynasty' Stars Willie and Sadie Robertson Urge Prayers for Lafayette, Louisiana In Wake of Movie Theater Shooting

( [email protected] ) Jul 24, 2015 01:06 PM EDT
"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson and his daughter, Sadie, have said they are praying for their home state of Louisiana after a mentally ill man opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing two people and wounding nine others before killing himself.
Two people were killed and nine injured after 59-year-old John Russell Houser fired into a packed movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana during a showing of the film Trainwreck on Thursday night. AP photo

"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson and his daughter, Sadie, are praying for their home state of Louisiana after a mentally ill man opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing two people and wounding nine others before killing himself.

On Friday, Willie Robertson took to Twitter to share his thoughts: "Praying for my folks in Lafayette, La. So sorry for senseless loss and those injured. We should be able to see a movie and not get shot!!"

Willie's 18-year-old daugher, Sadie, also weighed in on the massacre: "Praying for everyone in Lafayette. so sad to hear about another shooting, especially so close to home," she tweeted.

CNN reports that on Thursday evening, 59-year-old John Russell Houser stood up and unloaded at least 13 shots into a crowd of moviegoers settling in for the comedy "Trainwreck."  21-year-old Mayci Breaux and 33-year-old Jillian Johnson were instantly killed, and 9 others others were injured. Police said the injuries ranged from minor to life-threatening, and two of the victims have been released while one remains in critical condition.

The report notes that as people rushed from the theater, Houser joined them and headed outside, apparently toward his blue 1995 Lincoln Continental. However, as sirens from police converging on the Lafayette, Louisiana, theater drew closer, he went back inside and took his own life with a .40-caliber handgun.

"We heard a loud pop we thought was a firecracker," moviegoer Katie Domingue told the Louisiana Advertiser.

"He wasn't saying anything. I didn't hear anybody screaming either," said Domingue, who added that she heard about six shots before she and her fiance ran to the nearest exit, leaving behind her shoes and purse.

While police have not pinned down a motive yet, Houser was denied a concealed carry permit in 2006 after an arrest involving arson, and he was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009, Russell County, Alabama, Sheriff Heath Taylor told CNN.

The report also describes him as a "drifter" who'd become estranged from his family back home in Louisiana and arrived in Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 people about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge, in early July. The Associated Press reported Friday morning that court documents from 2008 say Houser's own family petitioned to have him involuntarily committed "because he was a danger to himself and others." 

Houser appeared to post regularly on Internet message boards, often ranting against the government and the mainstream media - writing that investigators are reading closely for clues, said Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police.

"There's no good reason why this act of evil should intrude on the lives of families," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said at a late night news conference. He added: "This is an awful night for Lafayette, this is an awful night for Louisiana, this is an awful night for the United States."

Asked Thursday night about gun control, Jindal said: "Let's focus on the victims. Tonight's not the night to be political."

He later told CNN, "This is a time for healing. There will be a time for those debates. Right now, let's love these folks. ... Let's love these families."

Actress Amy Schumer, who stars in "Trainwreck," also took to Twitter to extend prayers: "My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana," she wrote.