‘Caring & loving people’: Neighbors mourn retired priest, sister gunned down in their Palm Bay home

PALM BAY, Fla. — Many continue to mourn the loss of a beloved retired priest and his sister, who were shot to death Sunday in Palm Bay.


Investigators said Brandon Kapas, 24, shot the Rev. Robert Hoeffner, 76, and his sister Sally Hoeffner, 69, at their Kamloops Street home.

Police said Kapas then traveled to another home, where he killed his grandfather, William Kapas, and shot two police officers.

Officers eventually shot Brandon Kapas to death.

Read: Community mourns murders of retired priest and his sister following weekend crime spree in Palm Bay

Robert Hoeffner, also known as Father Bob, and his sister had a reputation for helping others.

“They also used to foster kids much earlier in the years,” neighbor Elizabeth Rivera told Channel 9 on Tuesday. “They were very caring and loving people.”

Neighbor David Little said he had seen Brandon Kapas at the Hoeffners’ home in the past.

Read: Police identify 2 injured officers, 3 people shot to death in Palm Bay

“I’ve seen him over here before,” he said. “So I think he was involved either in ... their counseling or their their bible study sessions.”

Little said he did not notice anything unusual in the neighborhood before police arrived there Sunday to track down the owner of the car Kapas had been driving.

Police said Kapas had “an arsenal of weapons” in that car.

Read: Police shoot man to to death after he killed someone, shot 2 Palm Bay police officers

Attorney Daniel Martinez represented Kapas in a November driving under the influence case, which was dropped by the State Attorney’s Office Monday.

“He had one prior case, but nothing in his history of violence,” he said. “It’s an unspeakable tragedy for all the families ... anybody who lost somebody as a part of this ordeal. Tthe officers who dealt with it. It’s a tragedy.”

Robert Hoeffner retired as a pastor from Palm Bay’s St. Joseph Parish in 2016.

In Orlando, he was also assigned to Good Shephed Parish and St. Isaac Jogues Parish.

His neighbors said he continued to help others during his retirement.

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

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