A former South Carolina middle school teacher shot her ex-boyfriend multiple times before killing herself, hours after the man obtained a restraining order against her, officials say.
What’s more, in the weeks before the shooting, police received numerous reports she had threatened his life, including via a text message that read “Call the cops. I'll shoot you before you get in the front door. Try me.”
Jennifer Rudemyer, 39, was found dead outside the home of her former boyfriend, Dr. Gaston “Gus” Perez, around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. A pistol lay nearby. She “died as a result of a single—self-inflicted—gunshot wound and her manner of death was consistent with suicide,” according to a news release by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Police also found Perez, 60, nearby, with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported him to Savannah Memorial hospital, where he remains in stable condition, the sheriff’s news release says. His daughter, Mel Perez, wrote on Facebook “Dad is in the ICU and resting …. so happy to know he pulled through.”
Perez's son Alex said his father had suffered gunshot wounds to his chest, head and hand, but which missed vital organs, according to the Island Packet, a local newspaper serving Hilton Head island, where the shooting occured.
“I just feel so, so, so lucky he survived,” Alex Perez said. “I know a lot of families don’t get breaks like this when tragedy falls.”
Perez, a licensed family practice physician, is the owner of Global Family Medicine; Rudemyer taught at Hilton Head Middle School and at H.E. McCracken Middle School in Bluffton, before opening a cleaning business, the Packet reported.
Perez and Rudemyer dated on-and-off for years before the shooting, a colleague of Perez’s told the Packet. In the weeks leading up to the shooting, police were made aware by multiple sources that Rudemyer repeatedly threatened to do violence to Perez, according to the Packet.
Tension between the two escalated on Aug. 12, when Rudemyer was summonsed for trespass at Perez’s medical office. On the way, she texted him that she would “crash her vehicle into his” if he didn’t meet with her.
When she arrived, Rudemyer “continued threatening (him) that she would turn his office into ‘Jerry Springer’ and damage his property,” according to the Packet.
After issuing her a summons, police released her.
But two days later, Rudemyer texted Perez and referenced a new house he was going to move into. “You won’t have one day in that f--king house. I’ll shoot you before you get in the front door. Try me.”
“You can’t even stop me… Arrest me. I’ll be out tomorrow,” and “You don’t get (a) happy ending,” according to the Packet.
Perez called police, and sheriff’s deputies went to Rudemyer’s house. She admitted sending the texts, but said it was done “completely out of emotion and at no time did she wish to cause harm to Perez.”
Police threatened to arrest if she continued sending texts to Perez, then left.
Three days later, on Aug. 17, police found Rudemyer drunk and “extremely upset” in Perez’s garage, according to the Packet. But, again, they warned her, and left.
Then, a week before the shooting, Lauren Church, a friend of Rudemyer’s living in Chicago, submitted an anonymous tip to police that said her “friend Jennifer Rudemyer drove to Savannah today with the intention of purchasing a gun,” the Packet reported.
“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.”
Another of Rudemyer’s friends called police that week expressing concern, because Rudemyer told the friend she was “thinking of buying a gun” and “don’t know if I want to kill him or myself first,” according to the Packet.
Police packed her up in an ambulance and closed the case. She was released from the hospital within hours.
On the day he was shot, Sept. 4, Perez was granted a restraining order against Rudemyer, making it unlawful for her to go near him. Fours hours later, she shot him.
Rudemyer is survived by a daughter, Olivia.
[Photo: Jennifer Rudemyer Facebook]