A South Carolina surgeon survived being shot at least four times by his much younger ex-girlfriend — who then killed herself in the posh resort town Hilton Head Island this week, according to a new report.
Cops are investigating the incident as an attempted murder-suicide, The Island Packet reported.
Jennifer Rudemyer, 39, attempted to kill 60-year-old Dr. Gaston “Gus” Perez outside his Spanish Wells Plantation home around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday before taking her own life, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office told the outlet.
Her body was discovered a short distance from that of Perez, according to the report.
Perez was listed in stable condition after surgery Wednesday at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, the sheriff’s office said.
Perez had suffered gunshot wounds to his chest, near his face and two in his hand, which he used to shield himself from the bullets — which miraculously missed both his brain and heart, the doctor’s son, Alex Perez, told the outlet.
“I just feel so, so, so lucky he survived,” the relieved son told the outlet. “I know a lot of families don’t get breaks like this when tragedy falls.”
“Dad is in the ICU and resting, won’t be able to see him for another few hours but so happy to know he pulled through,” his daughter, Mel Perez, posted to Facebook Wednesday. “He’s the strongest man I know. Thanks for all the sweet messages and support and will try and keep you all updated.”
Just hours before the shooting, Perez had been granted a restraining order against Rudemeyer, county officials said.
The couple had dated “on and off” for at least six years.
Perez, a licensed family practice physician, owns Global Family Medicine in Bluffton.
Rudemyer owned Coastal Clutter Queen, a professional organizing company for homes and businesses.
She also previously taught in the Beaufort County School District, according to the report.
Just days before the shooting, Lauren Church, a friend of Rudemyer, submitted a Crime Stoppers tip that the woman had gone to Savannah to purchase a gun to kill Perez and herself.
“A friend Jennifer Rudemyer drove to Savannah today with the intention of purchasing a gun,” the tip reads, according to the report. “She recently broke up with a long term boyfriend. She told me she had every intention of killing him then killing herself tonight. Thankfully she was denied the gun and the ex boyfriend is out of town. The ex boyfriend’s name is Gaston Perez. They have a pending restraining order hearing set for next week.”
The anonymous tip was assigned to an investigator “within an hour” and “is still being pursued at his point,” the sheriff’s office told the outlet.
Church also informed Perez about his ex’s intentions, the paper reported.
“I didn’t really know what to say,” Church told the outlet Thursday. “I encouraged her many, many, many times to seek help.”
Rudemyer and Church had been texting each other about 20 minutes before the shooting — and Rudemyer said in the conversation that she did not attend the restraining order hearing because “she said she knew it would be granted and she didn’t really see a point in going.”
She never indicated that she was about to shoot Perez or herself.
“It’s heartbreaking to me that it happened, because I think it could have been prevented,” Church told the paper. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
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