Web Stories Saturday, February 24

A retired Catholic priest and his sister were gunned down in Florida by a 24-year-old man — who then fatally shot his grandfather during a birthday party and wounded two police officers before he was killed, according to reports.

Palm Bay police responded about 2 p.m. Sunday to a domestic disturbance call at a residence on Forgal Avenue NE, where a birthday party was taking place, WESH reported, citing police Chief Mario Augello.

Brandon Kapas’ uncle told officers that he was armed and had weapons in his vehicle, but before they confronted him, he shot and killed his grandfather, William Kapas, 78, according to the outlet.

Augello and the family said the grandfather — who was visiting from Kentucky to celebrate his sister’s birthday — was killed as he was chasing after the gunman to try and get him to stop the rampage in the community about 70 miles southeast of Orlando.

When police encountered Kapas, he walked quickly toward his vehicle and at least one officer used a Taser and a struggle ensued.

Brandon Kapas, 24, of Palm Bay, Florida, fatally shot a retired Catholic priest and his sister, and then gunned down his own grandfather before he was killed by police, officials said, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office

After he managed to break free, two cops were wounded in an exchange of gunfire that killed Kapas, the chief said.

Police later discovered an “arsenal of weapons” inside the vehicle and learned that the vehicle did not belong to Kapas, Fox 35 Orlando reported.

Officers tracked the registered owner to a home in the northern part of the city, where they found two people dead.

The deceased were identified as the Rev. Robert Hoeffner, a retired priest, and his sister, Sally Hoeffner.

Father Robert “Bob” Hoeffner was killed alongside his sister. Florida Tech Catholic Campus Ministry

On Monday, Augello said the gunman has a relationship with the two but that its nature was unclear, according to NBC News.

“I lost my father. He was my role model. I’m the man I am because of him,” William Kapas Jr. told Florida Today.

“He was very loving and will be very much missed. Obviously, this is a very traumatic time for us. (Brandon) was my nephew,” he said.

Bishop John Noonan, who oversees the Orlando Diocese and its 400,000 Catholics, issued a statement Monday about the loss.

“We mourn with the St. Joseph Catholic community in Palm Bay over the tragic loss of these four lives as we pray for the repose of their souls and extend our prayers to their families,” he wrote.

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

Police found an arsenal of weapons inside a vehicle used by the gunman. Palm Bay Police Department

“We also pray for the two police officers who were injured yesterday and for our public servants who safeguard our community, and extend our gratitude to them during this difficult time,” he added.

One of the officers was wounded in the arm and the other was hit in the leg, Augello said, adding that they were both doing “OK.”

Augello described his officers as heroic and called the suspect “potentially an active shooter” because so many guns were found in the vehicle.

Hoeffner was mourned by members of the Saint Joseph Catholic Community. FOX 35 Orlando
Two officers were wounded during the exchange of gunfire with Papas. FOX 35 Orlando

The top cop said his motive is unknown.

“We don’t know what sparked it,” Augello said, adding that Kapas had a “criminal history” that included driving under the influence and resisting arrest,” NBC News reported.

It was unclear whether he was referring to charges or convictions.

“It’s unfortunate. These are circumstances that affected multiple families. It was tragic, no matter how you look at it, and it was tragic that our officers were shot protecting our community,” the chief said.

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