HOUMA, La. -- An attempted murder-suicide in Houma leaves the owner of a chain of fitness centers dead and his wife severely injured.
Wednesday, crime scene tape surrounded their house at 103 Woodburn St.
According to investigators Larry Blanchard, 57, shot his wife Nicole Blanchard, 29, in the face and then turned the gun on himself.
Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois said the injured woman was unable speak, but she used her cell phone to communicate with an emergency operator.
"She was texting and then what she did after we finally made contact with her by phone, she would answer yes or no questions with one beep for yes, I think, two for no, when we would ask a question she would beep one for yes, two for no," said Bourgeois.
The sheriff said deputies arrived at the Blanchard's home at 102 Woodburn St. within minutes of the call.
The department's SWAT team helped secure the area and entered the home.
"Upon entering the residence, deputies, detectives and SWAT team located Nicole Blanchard on her bed, bleeding from the mouth area," said Bourgeois. "The suspect was located in the same bedroom with an apparent fatal gunshot wound to the head."
Acadian ambulance rushed Nicole Blanchard to Terrebonne General Hospital, where she spent the day in surgery.
Her husband was pronounced dead on the scene.
As part of the criminal investigation, the sheriff's office will look into the Blanchard's background, but at this point there is no history of violence with this couple.
"We had no prior calls to the residence except for alarms -- that was it, normal residence alarms," said Bourgeois.
The Blanchards own Body Elite Fitness, a chain of popular gyms in Houma. The facilities are now closed until further notice.
Bobby Ellender said he and his wife are members of the club.
"He was nice, real built, muscular," said Ellender. "He was a body builder too."
Ellender said he was surprised Larry Blanchard would try to kill his wife. He called it a troubling sign of the times we live in.
"There isn't a town in this world I don't expect violence," said Ellender. "This is terrible. That's not the same world that I was born in."
A sheriff's spokesman said Nicole Blanchard remains in critical condition and has been transported to a New Orleans hospital.