Killing spree leaves 4 dead, including suspect

Ben Edward Freeman (Source: Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office)
Ben Edward Freeman (Source: Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office)
Unidentified Crime Scene (Source: WVUE)
Unidentified Crime Scene (Source: WVUE)

RACELAND, LA (WAFB) - Four people are dead, including the suspect, and three others remain hospitalized after a killing spree in south Louisiana Thursday night.

Deputy Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office said all three surviving victims are listed in stable condition. He added Lafourche Parish Councilman Louis Phillip Gouaux and his daughter, Andrea, are in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgeries early Friday morning.

Authorities reported Ben Freeman, 38, of Houma, was found dead inside his vehicle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on US 90 near the Bayou Blue-area of Lafourche Parish around 10:45 p.m.

Before taking his own life, Freeman is accused of murdering Susan "Pixie" Gouaux of Lockport and Milton Bourgeois of Raceland. Deputies confirmed they were killed with a shotgun, as was Freeman.

The suspect's wife, Denise Freeman, was also found dead. Her body was found in the bathtub of her home. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed that she was strangled and died as a result of suffocation and drowning.

Sheriff Craig Webre said a shooting was called in from Lockport around 6:40 p.m. Councilman L. Phillip Gouaux reported he, his wife and his daughter had been shot. Responding deputies found Susan Gouaux dead.

L. Phillip Gouaux and his daughter, Andrea, were taken to a hospital in New Orleans for treatment. Deputies said they learned the Gouauxs' were Freeman's former in-laws. He had once been married to one of the couple's daughters, but not the one who was shot.

Detectives said another shooting happened in Raceland about 20 minutes after the Lockport shooting was reported. They said Freeman showed up at Bourgeois's home and opened fire.

Bourgeois, the administrator at Ochsner St. Anne Hospital in Raceland, was shot to death at close range. His wife, Ann Bourgeois, was also shot, but survived. She was also taken to a New Orleans hospital for treatment.

Freeman was employed with Ochsner St. Anne Hospital from May 28, 1998 and through April 18, 2011. Officials say he resigned in April 2011 and sighted personal reasons. However, he remained eligible for rehire and remained on call status for several months after.

Authorities said while searching for Freeman, they placed Ochsner St. Anne Hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and Terrebonne General Medical Center were all placed on lockdown because they found out he had worked at all three at some point over the past few years.

Ochsner released the following statement Friday morning:

We are terribly shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of our friend and colleague, Milton Bourgeois, CEO of Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital.

Milton has been a long time member of the Ochsner family and instrumental in healthcare in our region. This is a devastating loss not only to the employees, physicians and staff of the Bayou community, but to the entire Ochsner Health System. Our immediate focus is on providing much needed support for our caregivers across the organization. We will continue to pray for the safe recovery of his wife, Ann, and the other victims. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and the families of the other victims.

We ask for respect and privacy for all of the families and others involved during this difficult time.

The sheriff said multiple agencies from across the area assisted in the investigation. Officials have not yet determined the motive behind the killings.

The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed that Ben Freeman had a court date scheduled for Jan. 16, 2014 related to a charge of simple battery domestic violence. The charge is a misdemeanor.

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