La. Mom Allegedly Murdered Her Estranged Husband in Front of 3 Children During Custody Exchange
The mother was arrested at the scene
A Louisiana woman allegedly shot her estranged husband in the parking lot of a Walmart during a custody exchange with her three children nearby, PEOPLE confirms.
On Saturday morning, Kayla Coutee, 31, and 30-year-old Thomas Coutee Jr. met in the parking lot of the Alexandria Walmart to exchange custody of their 2-year-old daughter when she allegedly shot him, Corp. Wade Bourgeois of the Alexandria Police Department tells PEOPLE.
Kayla Coutee’s two other children, ages 5 and 7, were also present, according to Bourgeois.
When police responded to reports of gunshots, they found Thomas lying on the ground. He had been shot once in the chest. First responders attempted to revive him but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a police news release obtained by PEOPLE.
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Coutee was located by officers sitting in her car at the scene, Bourgeois says. She was taken into custody while her three children were taken to police headquarters. She was charged with second-degree murder.
None of the children were injured, and they had been sitting in their car during the shooting. They were later released into the custody of family members, the news release states.
Police have not discussed a possible motive. Bourgeois tells PEOPLE police were investigating the possibility that Kayla Coutee had been served a restraining order.
If officials discover Coutee had been served a restraining order before the shooting, her charge could be upgraded to first-degree murder, according to Bourgeois.
Coutee is currently being held on $1,000,000 bond in Rapides Parish Detention Center. It is unclear whether she has an attorney. She has not yet entered a plea.