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4 dead, including Florida man suspected of shooting and wounding 2 police officers

PALM BAY, Fla. (AP) — Four people were killed in a city on Florida’s Space Coast, including a retired priest and a man accused of wounding two police officers during a shootout at a family birthday party, authorities confirmed Monday.

Brandon Kapas, 24, got into a confrontation with Palm Bay police officers Sunday afternoon following a disturbance at his family's home, police said. Kapas shot and wounded two officers while attempting to get away, officials said.

As additional officers were responding, Kapas allegedly shot and killed his grandfather, William Kapas, who was trying to intervene, police said. The other officers then fatally shot Brandon Kapas, police said.

A relative had told officers that Kapas was armed, and investigators later found what they described as an arsenal, with multiple rifles and handguns, in a vehicle Kapas had been driving. Police didn't immediately know why Kapas had so many weapons and didn't immediately release a possible motive for the shooting.

The wounded officers were expected to recover.

“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.

Detectives later found a retired priest and his sister dead at their home after tracking the registration of the car that Kapas had used, officials said.

Police believe Robert Hoeffner, a retired priest with the St. Joseph Catholic Community, and his sister, Sally Hoeffner, were killed shortly before Kapas went to his grandfather’s home for the birthday party.

Hoeffner retired in 2016 after serving at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Palm Bay detectives said they were trying to determine the connection between Kapas and his victims.

State law enforcement officials will investigate the officer-involved shooting.

Palm Bay is located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Orlando.