Authorities warned of Lowcountry woman before fatal shooting

Crime & Safety

Authorities say there were warning signs before a deadly shooting on Hilton Head when a Bluffton woman shot and wounded her ex-boyfriend before turning the gun on herself.

According to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), 39-year-old Jennifer Rudemyer purchased the gun on the same day of the shooting — and police recently received reports of her threatening violence.

The shooting occurred Tuesday outside the home of Gaston Perez, 60. Officials say Rudemyer shot him five times.

“There was an eyewitness that saw Jennifer Rudemyer shooting at Doctor Perez, and then she turned the gun on herself,” said Captain Bob Bromage, with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO). “She died as a result of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Perez is alive and in stable condition, but police reports reveal there were several signs that this may happen. 

“Apparently Jennifer Rudemyer was talking to multiple people about her thought of doing this,” Bromage explained.

Friends of Rudemyer and Perez say the two had a history, dating off and on for years. And arrest records show Rudemyer was booked for domestic violence last year.

More recently, reports reveal Bluffton police responded to her house three times in the month of August for mental health checks. 

On August 12, Perez called police asking for a trespass notice against Rudemyer for his office at Global Family Medicine.

That same day, she sent a text message saying “I’m going to kill myself. You robbed me of anything happy… you want to be alone? You won.” Police were forwarded the text and went to her home to check on her. She told them she was fine — just sad.

Crisis officials were also called and Rudemyer would not speak with them.

Four days later on August 16, more tips of her threatening suicide came into police. They responded to her house again, and Rudemyer said she was fine, just dealing with a breakup.

A week and a half later, things escalated.

“A Crimestoppers tip came into sheriff’s office emergency dispatch on August 28 at about 11 p.m. That tip was disseminated to investigators the following day,” Bromage said.

The tip read “she told me she had every intention of killing him and killing herself tonight” and that Perez was trying to get a restraining order.

That same night, police received yet another call and responded to her house again. This time, Rudemyer agreed to go to the hospital for an examination, but was never committed to a mental health facility. 

Officials now know she had applied for a gun earlier that day.

“She actually put an application which is vetted through the FBI through criminal history check,” Bromage explained.

On September 4, the day of the shooting, Perez was granted the restraining order, but officials say Rudemyer had already purchased a gun two hours earlier. 

“She picked it up on the day of the shooting in the afternoon,” Bromage explained. “There was a restraining order carried out at 2:00 p.m. at the Bluffton magistrate office, where Dr. Perez was attempting to obtain an order of protection against Jennifer Rudemyer.”

Bromage says Perez used the Crimestoppers tip to obtain the order of protection. Rudemyer did not appear at the hearing.

“Unless there’s a criminal history that would prevent her from owning a handgun — then she’s allowed to purchase a handgun,” said Bromage. “There’s nothing that law-enforcement could have done to stop that… that would require mental health professionals and the probate court to address that and at some point that would end up that she would become ineligible if they found cause.”

The Community Crisis Response and Intervention Team did open a case file on Rudemyer on August 12, but their records don’t show up on a background check. Gun shops only see records from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. 

Many rumors still surround the incident — and Rudemyer. Some are saying a woman who died in a car accident on the same street a week earlier may have been involved with the doctor.

BCSO says they are aware of these rumors and are looking into them.

News 3 will continue to follow this developing story.

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