Covering Louisiana

Dec 30, 2013 6:01 PM by AP

Funeral Monday for 1st victim in La death rampage

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Mourners gathered in Mississippi for the first person killed last week in a rampage across two Louisiana parishes. Denise Perry's obituary dropped the name of the husband who authorities said strangled and drowned her, then shot two other people to death before turning the gun on himself.

Perry, whose funeral was held Monday at Memory Chapel Funeral Home in Laurel, Miss., was the first of three people killed by 38-year-old Ben Edward Freeman in attacks that left three other people injured and authorities puzzled.

"What happened prior to that, that day, he probably took it to his grave," said Capt. Dawn Foret, a spokeswoman for the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office.

Perry's body was found in the bathroom of their home in Terrebonne Parish last Thursday; the autopsy found that she had been strangled and drowned. An obituary posted online by Memory Chapel said Perry was 43 years old and leaves behind a son and a daughter. The children were not home when she was killed, Foret said.

Authorities say Freeman killed Perry and then drove to the home of his former in-laws in Lafourche Parish, about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans. There, he shot and killed his Susan "Pixie" Gouaux (GO), and wounded her husband and one of their six daughters. They remain hospitalized. Freeman's ex-wife, Jeanne Gouaux, was not at her parents' house.

Freeman then drove to the Lockport home of Milton Bourgeois, CEO of Ochsner St. Anne Regional Hospital, and shot him to death. He shot and wounded Bourgeois' wife, Ann. Freeman, a registered nurse, had once worked for the hospital.

The killing occurred just weeks after Perry filed a charge of simple battery domestic violence against Freeman. A court hearing on the charge was scheduled for Jan. 16.

In October, he pleaded guilty to a criminal telephone-harassment charge brought by ex-wife Jeanne Gouaux and her father, Louis Philip Gouaux of Lockport.

Hundreds gathered Sunday night at a vigil for the dead and injured, candlelight illuminating their tears, The (Houma) Courier reported. It was held at Holy Savior Church in Lockport.

The parishes have been shaken by the violence.

"You really have three families here. Milton was from Raceland, but his work through the hospital touched Lockport ... The Gouauxes, the Freemans are Lockport people," said Lockport Mayor Paul Champagne. "You are burying grandparents and parents. This has affected so many people here."

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