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Catholic priest and sister found dead after police shootout

Catholic priest and sister found dead after police shootout

A 76-year-old priest and his sister were among four killed in a deadly shooting rampage in Palm Bay, Florida.

Around 2:20pm on 28 January, Palm Bay Police responded to a domestic disturbance during a family birthday party, police said. Not long after arriving on the scene, they encountered a suspect: 24-year-old Brandon Kapas.

Kapas “refused to comply with numerous verbal commands” and was “subsequently tased,” police said. Still, he was able to escape.

Five minutes later, “an exchange of gunfire” erupted between police and the suspect, during which two police officers were shot and wounded.

Then, Kapas fatally shot his grandfather, 78-year-old William Michael Kapas, who was trying to intervene in the confrontation.

Police then shot and killed Kapas.

“What I can tell you is that our officers’ actions yesterday prevented something even more tragic and devastating from happening,” Chief Mariano Augello said during a news conference Monday.

Both officers have made a full recovery.

Police later found the shooter’s car, which contained “an arsenal of weapons and ammunition,” authorities said. Around 7pm, investigators visited the address where the car was registered. There, police discovered two people who died from gunshot wounds: a priest, 76-year-old Robert “Bob” John Hoeffner, and his sister, 69-year-old Sally Joan Hoeffner.

Father Bob Hoeffner was killed in a shooting rampage (Florida Tech Catholic Campus Ministry)
Father Bob Hoeffner was killed in a shooting rampage (Florida Tech Catholic Campus Ministry)

The relationship between the shooter and the Hoeffners is unknown, police said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with” the officers and the “families of the victims involved in this senseless tragedy,” the authorities wrote.

“Throughout his priesthood, Father Hoeffner served the people of God with compassion and humility,” Reverend John Noonan said in a statement. “We will miss his grace-filled presence. We know he and his sister are received by the Lord with mercy and love.”

Father Randall Meissen said in a statement, “With great sorrow, we mourn the loss of [Father] Bob Hoeffner and his sister, Sally Hoeffner. Both were beloved members of our community and a light to all of us here at campus ministry. They will be greatly missed; May God grant them eternal repose.”