Families of murder-suicide victim, shooter release statements - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Families of murder-suicide victim, shooter release statements

Dr. Elbert Goodier (Source: NOLA.com) Dr. Elbert Goodier (Source: NOLA.com)
METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) -

As Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office detectives investigate the motive for Thursday's murder of a well-liked East Jefferson General Hospital doctor, the families of both the victim and the shooter released statements.

Authorities say 75-year-old Dr. Elbert Goodier was shot and killed while he was with a patient on the hospital's campus. His family released this statement Friday:

"Our family is devastated about the tragic loss of such a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and physician. We appreciate the outpouring of support from family, friends, the medical community, and his patients. We would like to thank JPSO, the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office, and the East Jefferson General Hospital staff for their comfort and support over the last 24 hours.

"We ask for privacy at this time of grief."

The sheriff's office says the shooter, identified as 73-year-old John Thomas, then went to the nearby Wendy's restaurant on Houma Blvd. and took his own life.He had been one of Goodier's patients. Thomas' family also released a statement Friday:

"Our hearts go out to the Goodier family.  Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. We knew Dr. Goodier to have been an excellent doctor who treated my husband and our father with skill and compassion. We cannot comprehend how this has all happened.  John Thomas was a husband, father, and grandfather to his family, who retired from the airline industry as a customer service representative after 35 years. Unfortunately he also had a long history of mental illness and had been treated for years with both medication and therapy. However, he had never been violent nor expressed a desire to harm others. We share this not to justify his actions, but to help explain them. We are profoundly saddened by what has happened.  As a family, we are in shock. We appreciate your understanding, as you provide us with the opportunity to process what has happened and mourn."

"We're all very saddened at this tragedy, at this loss,” said Father Luis Rodriguez, Pastor of St. Clement of Rome Catholic Church. "Bert was a parishioner here at St. Clement for a number of years. His wife Cathy was one of our teachers in the school. She's a retired teacher in our school here, again parishioners and neighbors, very devout Catholic and faith-filled folks and we're very shocked and saddened and  we're very upset at this tragic loss.”

Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich was a friend of the Goodier family, and by coincidence happened to be at the hospital during the shooting.

"In restrospect we know this gentleman had mental health issues," he said. "The mental health crisis that we have in this country is getting worse and worse. You know you have persons who have different degrees of mental health, and they are ticking time bombs, you know, for lack of a better term.”

He said the coroner’s office can commit someone against their will if they are a danger to themselves, others, or are gravely disabled.

"There's a lot of people who will fly under that radar who need help, but don't meet those criteria," Cvitanovich said. "Again I sympathize greatly with both the Goodiers and also the family of the shooter.”

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