8/20/2014

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Police: 4 dead after La. shootings, 3 injured

Police: 4 dead after La. shootings, 3 injured
This undated photo provided by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office shows Ben Freeman.
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RACELAND, La. (AP) - A man embroiled in a custody fight with his ex-wife attacked his former in-laws, his onetime boss at a hospital that fired him and his current wife in a rampage that spanned two parishes in Louisiana, leaving three dead before killing himself, authorities said.

Ben Freeman, 38, first attacked his former in-laws with a shotgun in Lafourche Parish about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans, wounding parish councilman Louis Phillip Gouaux and Gouaux's daughter Andrea. Both were in critical but stable condition at a hospital, Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Brennan Matherne said in a news release. Gouaux's wife, Susan, was dead when deputies arrived, Matherne said.

Louis Phillip Gouaux called 911 around 6:40 p.m. Thursday from his home in Lockport, telling dispatchers he had been shot in the throat, The Courier newspaper in Houma reported. Freeman was divorced from Gouaux's daughter Jeanne.

Jeanne Gouaux had filed several protective orders against Freeman, who had pleaded guilty to harassment charges and was allowed only supervised visits with their four children, said Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre. The last protective order expired less than a month ago, he said.

"Clearly, there has been a very difficult and complicated divorce/custody issue going on," Webre said during a news conference late Thursday.

About 20 minutes after the first shootings, Freeman arrived at the home of Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital administrator Milton Bourgeois in nearby Raceland, about 8 miles from Lockport. Bourgeois was shot and killed at close range; his wife, Ann, was shot in the leg and was listed in stable condition at a hospital, Matherne said.

Freeman had worked at the hospital as a registered nurse before he was fired in 2011, Webre said. Webre could not say why Freeman was fired but said police had been called there previously after Freeman damaged a room. Freeman told officers he would seek mental help, Webre said.

Freeman also had worked at two other hospitals, which along with St. Anne had been placed on lockdown for a time on Thursday.

Later Thursday night, Freeman's current wife, Denise Taylor Freeman, was found dead in the couple's home in Houma in Terrebonne Parish. Matherne said it was not immediately known how she died.

Ben Freeman was found dead around 10:45 p.m. along U.S. Highway 90 near Bayou Blue. He had shot himself in the head.
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