BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Authorities are investigating an apparent murder-suicide in which two people died and another was wounded, but expected to survive.
It happened on Redman Lake Drive off Hoo Shoo Too Road in Baton Rouge a little before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Neighbors in the area say it is not unusual to hear gunshots there. But seeing sheriff's deputies is not normal.
"Police were flying down the road, so I knew something had happened. When I came out and looked down that way I knew something had happened to my neighbor," said Wanda Seymour.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said William Benham, 48, shot his wife Cheri Lynn Benham and stepdaughter, Natalie Corkern, 29, before turning the gun on himself. Corkern and Benham are dead.
The wife, who neighbors identified as Cheri Lynn Benham, was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. She is listed in stable condition and expected to recover.
"It's very disheartening," said Sheriff Sid Gautreaux. "It's just a tragedy."
Detectives believe the deadly shooting was the tragic end to a domestic argument that spiraled out of control. Deputies said they received a 911 call from a woman who said her husband had gone crazy and then they heard gunshots.
"It's never the right thing to do. And, it's never anything that is imaginable by anybody in their right mind," Gautreaux added.
Corkern stayed alive long enough for sheriff's deputies and EMS to get to the home. She was able to tell them a little bit about what happened, but couldn't hold on and died inside the house.
"Whatever the circumstances were that they got to this point, got to that point with him that he resorted to this and end things," Gautreaux said.
Neighbors claimed Benham had a history of violence with women. Deputies said from what they could tell, the couple did not have domestic issues in the past.
Neighbors also say Benham had a fascination with guns. They say he had several guns in various rooms in his house and would often shoot them in the woods behind his home or across the street. Neighbors say Benham would often tell them to arm themselves; they say he feared attacks from aliens and immigrants.
The investigation will continue and more information will be provided as it becomes available.
As if the loss of two lives and wounding of a third victim isn't bad enough, the effects of the tragedy were even visible in the family pets. The two dogs who also lived at the home seemed scared and lost when they were led out of the crime scene. The sight of it was sad enough to break some people's hearts.