Cops: Man kills wife, boss and ex-in law... wounds others
Dave Cohen Reporting
Cops in Lafourche Parish say a man went on a shooting rampage in a post-Christmas rage. He killed his wife, his ex-mother in law and his boss.
Investigators say Ben Freeman (above) also wounded his ex-sister in law, bosses wife and his ex-father in law - who is Lafourche Parish Councilman Phillip Gouaux.
Freeman then apparently killed himself.
"Sheriff Craig Webre reported the suspect... has been found deceased inside a vehicle along U.S. Highway 90 in Raceland," Deputy Brennan Matherne said in a news release. "Ben Edward Freeman (W/M, D.O.B. 10/06/75) of 202 Louis Drive in Houma was found deceased as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
They discovered Freeman's body as they were investigating three separate shooting scenes in two parishes.
"Freeman was the prime suspect in two shooting incidents which resulted in two deaths and three injuries in Lafourche Parish," Matherne explained. "The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office reported that Ben Freeman's current wife, Denise Taylor Freeman, was also found deceased inside the Freemans' home in Terrebonne Parish."
An autopsy shows Mrs. Freeman as strangled and drowned. Freeman's autopsy revealed her cause of death as asphyxia (strangulation) due to suffocation and drowning.
The dead are:
Susan "Pixie" Gouaux of Lockport (Freeman's ex-mother in law)
Milton Bourgeois (Freeman's boss)
Denise Taylor Freemanm (Freeman's wife)
Lafourche Parish Councilman Louis Phillip Gouaux (Freeman's ex-father in law)
Andrea Gouaux (Freeman's ex-sister in law)
Ann Bourgeois (Freeman's boss' wife)
"Councilman Gouaux and his daughter, Andrea... were transported to University Hospital in New Orleans for treatment. They are currently listed in critical, but stable condition. Deputies learned Ben Freeman is a former son-in-law of the Gouauxs, having been formerly married to their daughter, Jeanne Gouaux," Matherne said. "Ann Bourgeois... was transported to University Hospital in New Orleans and is listed in stable condition."
Milton Bourgeois was the Administrator at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, where Freeman worked as a registered nurse.
As news of the shooting spree spread, several hospitals were locked down amid fears Freeman wound go there.
"During the search for Ben Freeman, three area hospitals - Ochsner St. Anne Hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, and Terrebonne General Medical Center - were all placed on lockdown for a period of time due to the incidents. It was learned that Freeman had been employed at each of the hospitals over the last few years at one time or another," according to Matherne.
Officials released the following update on Friday afternoon:
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre reported the injured victims from Thursday night's shootings each remain in stable condition. Detectives learned Andrea Gouaux suffered spinal damage, and her father, Lafourche Parish Councilman L. Phillip Gouaux, is recovering from a gunshot wound to the neck. Both remain hospitalized at University Hospital in New Orleans. They are both listed in critical, but stable condition, and both are responsive. Meanwhile, the third injured victim, Ann Bourgeois, underwent surgery due to a gunshot wound to the leg. She is recovering and is being transferred to Ochsner Medical Center in Kenner.
All three were injured during two separate shooting incidents Thursday night which left two others dead, including Councilman Gouaux's wife, 61-year-old Susan "Pixie" Gouaux, as well as Ann Bourgeois' husband, 67-year-old Milton Bourgeois, CEO at Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital in Raceland. The suspect, Ben Edward Freeman (W/M, D.O.B. 10/06/75) of 202 Louis Drive in Houma was also found deceased inside a vehicle on U.S. Highway 90 as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office also reported the body of Freeman's wife, 43-year-old Denise Freeman, was discovered at her home on Thursday night. On Friday, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter reported Denise Freeman's autopsy revealed her cause of death as asphyxia (strangulation) due to suffocation and drowning, and investigators believe Ben Freeman was responsible for her death.
Meanwhile, autopsies were conducted on Susan "Pixie" Gouaux and Milton Bourgeois today by the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office. Officials determined Gouaux suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body and died as a result of those wounds. Bourgeois, officials discovered, died after suffering a single gunshot wound to the chest at close range.
Detectives worked through the night to process the crime scenes at the Gouauxs' residence on Hyland Drive in Lockport and the Bourgeois' residence on LA Highway 308 in Raceland. Detectives also processed the scene where Freeman took his own life in a sport-utility vehicle on U.S. Highway 90. Detectives say no evidence of any motive, nor any type of suicide note, was found at any of the scenes. The investigation into the incidents is continuing as detectives attempt to learn about the events that led up to Thursday's shootings.
Sheriff Webre said Freeman was connected to each of the victims. Freeman was involved in a custody dispute with his former wife, Jeanne Gouaux, who is the daughter of Councilman Gouaux. The two had four children together, but several incidents have been reported in the last two years, mostly with regard to telephone harassment. Freeman was arrested for harassment in May 2013 and had been served with at least two protective orders, the most recent of which expired in November 2013. Sheriff Webre also indicated Freeman was a former employee of Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital and had been fired in 2011.