RACELAND, La. – Three victims from a shooting spree in Raceland Thursday, are still in critical condition Friday, according to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Brennan Matherne with the Sheriff’s Office confirmed that all three continue to be listed in stable condition at University Hospital in New Orleans.
Councilman L. Phillip Gouaux and his daughter Andrea are still listed in critical condition following their respective surgeries earlier Friday morning, according to Matherne.
According to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, 38-year-old Ben Freeman, the suspect in two Thursday night shootings was found dead, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, inside a vehicle along U.S. Highway 90 in Raceland.
Freeman was the prime suspect in two shooting incidents which resulted in two deaths and three injuries in Lafourche Parish.
Susan "Pixie" Gouaux and Milton Bourgeois both died as a result of gunshot wounds. Lafourche Parish Councilman Louis Phillip Gouaux, his daughter Andrea Gouaux, and Ann Bourgeois were also allegedly shot by Freeman and are currently being treated for their injuries. Authorities in Terrebonne Parish also discovered the body of Denise Freeman, the wife of Ben Freeman, at their Houma residence.
The Jefferson Parish Coroner ruled the cause of death was asphyxia (strangulation) due to suffocation and drowning for Denise Freeman. Authorities believe she was the first victim killed.
The first shooting happened at about 6:40 p.m. at a home on Hyland Drive in Lockport. Councilman L. Phillip Gouaux called 911 to report that he, his wife and daughter had been shot. Upon arrival, deputies found Councilman Gouaux's wife, Susan, dead from gunshot wounds. Councilman Gouaux and his daughter, Andrea, had also suffered injuries in the shooting and were transported to University Hospital in New Orleans for treatment. They are currently listed in critical, but stable condition. Deputies learned Ben Freeman is a former son-in-law of the Gouauxs, having been formerly married to their daughter, Jeanne Gouaux.
The second incident occurred approximately 20 minutes later, around 7 p.m. at a home in the 2900 block of Hwy. 308 in Raceland. Milton Bourgeois, the CEO at Ochsner St. Anne since 1988, died in that shooting. He was shot at close range according to deputies. Bourgeois' wife Ann Bourgeois and his daughter were injured. Both are listed in stable condition.
Then, late Thursday night, Terrebonne Parish Deputies, who assisted the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, arrived at a third location in Houma, in search of the alleged shooter. While at the location, detectives found out that Freeman's wife, Denise Freeman, did not show up for work and was not answering her cell phone. There was also no answer at the door.
Terrebonne Deputies entered the residence and found 43-year-old Denise Freeman dead in the bath tub. Both the cause of death and time of death, are unknown at this time. According to deputies, Denise Freeman was employed as a nurse. She leaves behind an 18-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son.
At around 10:45 p.m., authorities discovered Freeman's vehicle parked along U.S. Highway 90 in Raceland. Freeman was found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Freeman used a shotgun in each of the shootings in Lafourche Parish, including his own, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies say the families had several restraining orders against Ben Freeman.
Because Freeman had ties to three local hospitals in the surrounding parishes -- Ochsner St. Anne, Terrebonne General and Thibodaux Regional Center -- the sheriff's office placed all three on lockdown as a precaution earlier in the evening. Freeman had been employed at each of the hospitals over the last few years at one time or another according to deputies.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office, members of the Thibodaux Police Department, Lockport Police Department, Golden Meadow Police Department, Port Fourchon Harbor Police, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana State Police, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, all assisted in the search for Freeman.
Ochsner Health System offered the following statement regarding the shootings and the loss of CEO Milton Bourgeois:
“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.”
Michael F. Hulefeld, EVP and COO Ochsner Health System
Ochsner also offered Bourgeois’ Biography -
Milton Bourgeois served as the St. Anne CEO since 1988 and led the team there with best in class quality and engagement. He was deeply committed to providing high quality healthcare to the Raceland and Bayou Region for more than 25 years. Milton was very active in the community and the healthcare industry. He served on the Louisiana Hospital Board for the last decade and held the positions of Treasurer and Board Chairman.
Milton also served as a board member of HOSPPAC, South Louisiana PPO, United Way, Crimestoppers, The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Lafourche and the Bayou Region, St. Mary Nativity School, Louisiana State Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners and Lafourche Hospital Service District No. 2. He received the 2012 AHA Grassroots Champion Award and the 2010 AHA/HOSPPAC Most Valuable Player Award. He served four years in the U.S. Army as a Nuclear/Special Weapons Officer.