Russell Co. Sheriff Heath Taylor addresses Louisiana gunman John Houser’s criminal background

Russell Co. Sheriff Heath Taylor addresses the media about John 'Rusty' Houser's criminal background.

PHENIX CITY, Ala. – Louisiana gunman John Houser has an extensive criminal background in Phenix City.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor held a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss Houser’s background.

At the news conference, Sheriff Taylor told media Houser was never arrested in Russell County. Taylor said there were no outstanding warrants for his arrest in the county. Sheriff Taylor said Houser wasn’t even “on their radar” as a violent criminal.

“Often times, victims for whatever reason don’t want to follow through with prosecution,” Taylor said. “If it’s misdemeanors, they’re certain restrictions on police making that case. Certainly whoever investigated it didn’t find enough to follow through with a warrant.”

When asked why Houser was denied a concealed carry permit in 2006, Taylor said it was because of prior charges.

Russell Co. Sheriff Heath Taylor addresses the media about John 'Rusty' Houser's criminal background.
Russell Co. Sheriff Heath Taylor addresses the media about John ‘Rusty’ Houser’s criminal background.

“We had the report of domestic violence against him and and ’89 or ’90 he was arrested for an arson case in Columbus,” said Taylor. “So at the time he applied for his permit, he had the arson arrest in his history, as well as the domestic violence one.”

The sheriff said Houser was evicted from his Phenix City home in 2014. Soon after, he went back to the house and caused significant damage.

Taylor said the most recent Phenix City address for Houser was on 32nd Street in 2014. The sheriff believes Houser moved from one place to another since then.

Sheriff Taylor explained why he believed Houser wasn’t currently receiving mental health treatment.

“There’s cuts being made all over about mental health and that’s what’s so scary for us in law enforcement and should be scary for the community,” said Taylor. “The cuts that are being made as far as mental health around the state is allowing a lot of these people that should not be walking around to be out in the community,”

The Russell County’s Sheriff Department and the Phenix City Police Department are assisting LaFayette police and the FBI in this ongoing investigation.

 

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