A Louisiana man went on a shooting spree Thursday night, killing his former mother-in law and his onetime boss at a hospital where he was fired two years ago. Reports indicate that the wife of the shooter, who has been identified as Ben Edward Freeman, was also found dead in a bathtub inside the couple’s Houma, Louisiana home.
Denise Freeman’s cause of death was not immediately released, but police believe her husband killed the 43-year-old mother of two as well.
Freeman later turned the gun on himself before cops could catch up with him. They found his body slumped in his vehicle along US 90, outside of Houma’s Bayou Blue neighborhood. He had reportedly shot himself in the head.
The deadly shooting spree began at about 6:40 pm, when Freemen allegedly burst into the home of Lafourche Parish Councilman Phillip Gouaux and shot him in the throat. He continued blasting away, shooting Gouaux’s wife, Susan — known as “Pixie” — and the councilman’s daughter, Andrea.
The fallen politician was somehow able to dial 911 despite his throat wound, alerting police to Freeman’s rampage in progress. By the time they arrived, sadly, Pixie Gouax was dead. Phillip and Andrea Gouaux were rushed to University Hospital in New Orleans where they were listed in critical condition but expected to survive, according to the Houma Courier newspaper’s account.
Freeman was formerly married to another of Gouax’s daughters, Jeanne. According to reporting by The Associated Press, the ex-couple were involved in a bitter battle over lingering issues from their divorce.
Freeman and Jeanne Gouax had four children, but he was permitted to see them only with supervision. He had pleaded guilty to a harassment charge and was hit with multiple protective orders against him by his former wife.
“Clearly, there has been a very difficult and complicated divorce/custody issue going on,” Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said at a press conference, covered by WDSU TV News. “They have had issues. A number of complaints have been filed since 2012-13, mostly harassment, telephone harassment, text message harassment. During the course of that time there have been at least 2 protective orders. The most recent expired Nov. 30 this year.”
Just 20 minutes after allegedly gunning down the Goaux family, Freeman continued his shooting spree. A registered nurse himself, as was the wife he allegedly killed, the gunman showed up at the home of Milton Bourgeois, a top administrator at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, Lousiana.
In 2011, Freman worked at the hospital but was fired. Police said they had been called there after Freeman caused some damage to hospital property. At the time, he promised to seek out help for mental health issues.
Instead, he waited two years then allegedly shot Bourgeois, killing him. Freeman also reportedly shot Bourgeois’ wife, Ann, who survived the attack.
Freeman’s former hospital and two other Louisiana hospitals where he had also previously worked were placed on precautionary lockdown until police were certain the shooting spree was over.
Pictured above are victims (l-r) Denise Freeman, Milton Bourgeois and Phillip Gouax.