CALLAHAN, Fla. – Disclaimer: This story contains details that some will find graphic. Discretion is advised.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper says a man is in custody, accused of fatally shooting his wife, daughter and son at their home Wednesday morning.
“This case is just tragic. It just, it’s crazy. It just doesn’t make sense,” Leeper said.
Police were called to the Spring Lake Estates neighborhood in Callahan at about 7:15 a.m. Leeper said when deputies arrived, the suspected shooter was lying in the driveway of the residence, unarmed.
The sheriff said the suspect, who he identified as William Conway Broyles, 57, called 911 after the shooting to notify the Sheriff’s Office about the shooting.
“Later on he told us that he shot each victim multiple times, just to make sure they didn’t suffer,” Leeper said.
According to Leeper, Broyles’ 57-year-old wife was shot in the living room area of the home, his 27-year-old daughter was shot as she was waking up and his 28-year-old son was shot in a bedroom.
“When he was asked why he didn’t just shoot himself, he said he was too scared to do that,” the sheriff said.
Broyles was booked into the Nassau County Jail on three counts of second-degree murder, Leeper said. He noted no history of domestic issues at the address.
As revealed on the staff page of Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church, on Wednesday evening, Broyles was listed as the church’s director of music ministries. The church writes that Broyles, who apparently goes by Bill, has been its church musician for 23 years, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering and has worked in the aerospace and medical device industries.
The home, surrounded by crime scene tape, already had holiday decorations up in the windows.
“It’s very sad. For our neighborhood, for our community, for that family. This time of year especially,” said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.
Multiple callers reported a heavy law enforcement presence in the neighborhood to News4JAX. Crime scene tape was visible and multiple roads in the neighborhood were completely blocked off.
Neighbors said this is heartbreaking for their neighborhood. One woman said she was taking her children to school Wednesday morning when she noticed law enforcement filling the street.
“It does make me reflect on the times that we are in right now, and we need to all pull together and support each other,” Carol Conrique said.
Neighbors said Wednesday’s tragedy brings up bad memories. Nearly two years ago, a West Nassau High School football player named Trent Fort was shot and killed in the same neighborhood.
Neighbors said they are praying for those affected by Wednesday’s shooting.
“I’m hoping and praying for the best for that family and anyone who knows them because there is something horrible that happened,” Conrique said.