UPDATE: Shooter identified in murder-suicide near East Jeff Hospital

Published: Mar. 24, 2016 at 6:28 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2016 at 4:35 PM CDT
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The crime scene extends from the hospital to a nearby restaurant. (FOX 8)
The crime scene extends from the hospital to a nearby restaurant. (FOX 8)
Dr. Goodier (Source: EJGH website)
Dr. Goodier (Source: EJGH website)

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Police say the man who shot and killed Dr. Elbert Goodier before turning the gun on himself was on of the doctor's patients.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office identified 73-year-old John P. Thomas as the shooter in Thursday's murder-suicide near East Jefferson General Hospital. According to JPSO, Thomas was a resident of Moisant Street in Kenner and had no prior criminal history. However, family members told police that he did suffer from a mental illness.

Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich happened to be at East Jefferson Hospital Thursday afternoon when he heard the news.

"I had my mom in a doctor's appointment, so, I was just with her and somebody came running in saying that a doctor had been shot and killed," he said.

Police said Thomas walked into Goodier's office in the 4200 block of Houma Blvd. and killed the doctor while he was meeting with a patient. Thomas then walked outside to a nearby Wendy's restaurant. When he saw a sheriff's deputy, police said Thomas put the gun in his mouth and fired.

"I think it's awful because we have very few murders in Metairie, and I personally come to that office, that building, many times over the last 10 years or better, and never hear anything like this. It's very, very depressing," said neighbor Richard Wise.

"[Dr. Goodier was] a very nice guy," Cvitanovich said. "If you called him late at night, he was always prepared to help assist and take care of his patients."

The family of Dr. Goodier released a statement saying, 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.

East Jefferson's president and CEO released the following statement:

A tragic event transpired today on our campus. A man entered one of our medical office buildings and killed Dr. Elbert Goodier, III. This is a tragic loss for EJGH and our entire community.

Dr. Goodier was respected and beloved by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Our hearts and sympathies go out to his family, his friends, his staff and all who knew him. Our chaplains are available should anyone wish to speak with them. We will be sending out more information as arrangements are made. We, as a hospital and community, now mourn the loss of a generous and gracious man.

Mark J. Peters, M.D., CPE – EJGH President and CEO

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