PALM BAY, Fla. – A tragic incident unfolded in Palm Bay, Florida, where four people lost their lives, including a retired priest and a man involved in a shootout with police. The altercation occurred at a family birthday party, resulting in a series of events that shocked the local community.
The suspect, 24-year-old Brandon Kapas, reportedly engaged in a confrontation with Palm Bay police officers following a disturbance at his family’s residence. During the altercation, Kapas allegedly shot and wounded two officers while attempting to flee from the scene. As additional officers arrived, Kapas proceeded to shoot and kill his own grandfather, who was attempting to intervene, before being fatally shot by other officers.
According to authorities, a relative had informed the officers that Kapas was armed, leading to the discovery of a significant number of weapons, including rifles and handguns, in a vehicle linked to the suspect. The motive behind Kapas’ actions and the reason for possessing a substantial arsenal remain unclear.
In a press conference, Chief Mariano Augello praised the officers for preventing an even more tragic outcome. The wounded officers are expected to recover from their injuries sustained during the incident.
Tragically, detectives later discovered the bodies of a retired priest, Robert Hoeffner, and his sister, Sally Hoeffner, at their home. The authorities believe that these killings occurred prior to Kapas’ arrival at his grandfather’s home for the birthday celebration. Hoeffner, a retired priest from the St. Joseph Catholic Community, had served at St. Joseph Catholic Church until his retirement in 2016.
Palm Bay detectives are working to establish the connection between Kapas and his victims, while state law enforcement officials are set to investigate the officer-involved shooting. The community, located about 75 miles southeast of Orlando, is left reeling from this tragic event.