Former Bluffton teacher dead, local doctor hospitalized after Hilton Head shooting, police say
Hours before he was shot multiple times outside his Spanish Wells Plantation home Tuesday night, a Hilton Head doctor was granted a restraining order against his ex-girlfriend who died in the same shooting, according to Beaufort County officials.
Dr. Gaston Perez, 60, and Jennifer Rudemyer, 39, were part of a hearing relating to the restraining order at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Bluffton Magistrate Court, court administrator Stephanie Garst said Wednesday. The judge ruled in Perez’s favor. He was shot a little more than four hours later.
A neighbor heard a gunshot and witnessed the shooting around 6:15 p.m. on Widewater Road, according to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Capt. Bob Bromage.
Perez was flown to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah for treatment and was in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Alex Perez, one of the wounded man’s sons, told The Island Packet that he first was able to see his father at about 4 a.m. Wednesday. Alex Perez said his father was in the ICU and resting as of Wednesday afternoon.
He said his father sustained four to five gunshot wounds above the chest and to his hand, which he raised to block the bullets. The physician operating on his father told him that Perez was “very lucky” considering the number of rounds that struck him, he said.
Rudemyer was found dead at the scene, according to the Sheriff’s Office, a pistol lying nearby. An autopsy determined the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound consistent with suicide, deputy coroner David Ott said Wednesday afternoon.
A Sheriff’s Office release issued at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday said the final autopsy report is pending toxicology results.
Perez and Rudemyer are believed to be the only parties involved in the shooting, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette filed a open-records request early Wednesday morning for all incident reports involving Perez and Rudemyer from the Sheriff’s Office and Bluffton Police Department.
Bromage and Bluffton Police spokesperson Joy Nelson confirmed both agencies have multiple incident reports involving Rudemyer and Perez but declined to comment on the nature of those incidents Wednesday afternoon, deferring to the reports The Packet would be receiving.
In a Bluffton Police Department incident report obtained by The Packet earlier and dated Aug. 12, Rudemyer was issued a trespass notice for the medical office where her ex-boyfriend worked after a “domestic disturbance.” The victim’s name and exact location of the medical office were redacted from the report.
The victim said Rudemyer had sent him “disturbing text messages,” and had been “showing up to places he visits, possibly following him,” according to the report. The report also said Rudemyer was arrested in 2017 for assaulting the victim.
On Aug. 12, Rudemyer sent a text to the victim saying she was on her way to his office and would “crash her vehicle into his” if he didn’t meet with her, the report said. It also said that when she arrived, she “continued threatening (him) that she would turn his office into ‘Jerry Springer’ and damage his property,” the report said.
The victim told police he wanted the incident documented so he could obtain a restraining order, the report said.
Perez is a licensed family practice physician and owns Global Family Medicine in Bluffton. He is also the medical director of Hospice Care of South Carolina and the home health care company Amedisys, according to his LinkedIn page.
Rudemyer was the owner of Coastal Clutter Queen, a company that organizes homes and businesses, according to her Facebook page. She also taught at Hilton Head Middle School in 2003 and 2004 and at H.E. McCracken Middle School from 2008 to 2017, according to Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster.