Further details are emerging about the background of a gunman who opened fire inside a packed cinema in Lafayette, Louisiana, on the night of 23 July.

John Russel Houser, 59, fatally shot Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33, before turning the gun on himself.

While his motive remains unclear, his past reveals a man who had a history of violence and mental illness.

In 2008, Houser's wife and other family members asked for a temporary protective order against him "because he was a danger to himself and others," the Associated Press reported.

The court documents said Houser "exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements."

His wife, Kellie Maddox Houser, "has become so worried about the defendant's volatile mental state that she has removed all guns and/or weapons from their marital residence," the documents said.

Houser "has a history of mental health issues, i.e. manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder," the filing said.

Police have also been examining online posts made by Houser, who also appeared on a morning call-in show numerous times in the early 1990s, advocating violence against people involved in abortions.

TV host Calvin Floyd, who hosted the show on WLTZ-TV in Columbus, Georgia, described his as an "angry man" who made "wild accusations" about a variety of local officials and topics.

Writing on his LinkedIn page, Houser described the job: "Guest host one day per week for more than 60 episodes. Invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it."

He was also a frequent user of online forums and message boards, under the username Rusty Houser.

"America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world," he wrote in a December 2013 comment on Fellowship of the Minds. "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."

Another post advocated mandatory sterilisation for welfare recipients, while another on the same site says the entire US government is "against whites."

His profile on another reads: "Hitler accomplished far more than any other through "pragmatically forming."

His Twitter account has just two tweets, both from June 2013. The first reads: "Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America [members not brainwashed]."

His second - and last - post reads: "If you don't think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do."

He also left some clues to his political beliefs on Facebook, where he has two likes - an "I hate liberals!" group and the Crossroads Irish-American Festival.

According to police, Houser was sat alone during a screening of the comedy Trainwreck for around 20 minutes before standing up and firing. There were more than 100 people in the audience at the time of the incident.

Prior to the shooting in Lafayette, President Barack Obama told the BBC the one area in which he has felt the "most frustrated and most stymied" during his time in the White House was the country's failure to pass"sufficient common sense, gun safety laws".