Milton Bourgeois of Raceland in southern Louisiana was killed, his wife, Ann, was wounded, and the sense of calm that epitomizes life amid the sugar cane fields in the small towns of bayou country was shattered by a four-hour convulsion of violence that left four people dead and three others wounded, two of them critically, in a place where violence is exceedingly rare, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Bourgeois, the administrator of Ochsner St. Anne General Hospital, was killed Thursday night when, police say, Ben Freeman shot him in the chest with a shotgun at close range. Freeman had worked at St. Anne as a nurse, but left his job in 2011.
Freeman’s murderous rampage apparently started, police said, when he strangled and drowned his wife, Denise, in a bathtub in their home 12 miles away in Houma. He then drove to the home of his former in-laws, killed his former mother-in-law and shot her husband and their daughter. The night of terror in bayou country ended at about 10:45 p.m. when Freeman parked his SUV on the shoulder of U.S. 90, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. (The Associated Press reported that authorities are investigating Freeman’s motives, but “clearly, there has been a very difficult and complicated divorce/custody issue going on,” Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said.)