Hundreds honor victims of deadly multi-parish rampage at Lafourche vigil

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 29, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 30 at 10:15 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

LOCKPORT, La. – Hundreds gathered to honor the victims of a deadly multi-parish rampage Sunday night at Holy Savior Church in Lafourche Parish.

The vigil began at 6:40 p.m. -- the same time the initial 911 call was made Thursday.

For the standing room only crowd, it was a gathering of healing and remembrance. Thursday's deadly rampage has shaken the close-knit community to the core. Many at the vigil knew everyone involved.

“Shock, a lot of shock. Everybody knows every body,” said Stanley Alleman as he walked into the vigil. “It's hard to describe anything like this.”

“You never think it's going to happen in your town,” said Jody Theriot.

Investigators say the violence started in Houma, where Ben Freeman, 38, strangled his wife, Denise Taylor Freeman, to death in a bathtub in their home.

Freeman went on to shoot and kill his former mother in-law, 61-year-old Susan "Pixie" Gouaux, at her home in Lafourche Parish. Her husband, Councilman Phillip Gouaux and their daughter, Andrea, remain hospitalized in critical condition.

Freeman then killed Milton Bourgeois, a former co-worker and CEO of Ochsner St. Anne. Bourgeois' wife, Ann, is hospitalized with a gun shot wound to the leg.

Finally, Freeman turned the gun on himself. Authorities found his body Thursday night in an SUV on the side of US 90 in Raceland.

“It hits me very close to home because I do know those families very well,” said Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre. “I know how people are going to remember them, they're going to remember them for the fine, courageous, upstanding people that they were.”

Many here felt a special connection to Susan "Pixie" Gouaux. She was a teacher's assistant at the school connected with Holy Savior Church.

“She was a happy person, she would always wear these crazy hats to school,” said Halie Theriot, who was a student in Susan Gouaux’s class.

“She was a very outgoing individual and I have a lot of fond memories of her. So does everyone else in our community,” said Robbie Arcenaux.

And as the community mourns the four lives lost, they for the survivors who are fighting for theirs.

Phillip Gouaux was shot in the neck. His daughter is suffering from spinal damage.

“They will be remembered in our prayers for sure,” said Daniel Legender.

News cameras not allowed inside the vigil.

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office is still investigating what led up to Thursday's shooting spree.

 

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