Willian Broyles, a music director at Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, allegedly murdered his wife, daughter, and one of his sons.
Saying Wednesday morning’s massacre at a Callahan home “doesn’t make sense,” Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced the arrest of William Conway Broyles in the deaths of his wife and two grown children.
Leeper said the 57-year-old suspect called 911 about 7:15 a.m. to notify deputies of what had just occurred at his Deer Run Road home in the Spring Lake Estates community.
“The suspect was lying down in the driveway unarmed, waiting on them,” the sheriff said. “… Later on, he told us that he shot each victim multiple times just to make sure they didn’t suffer.”
His wife, Candace Lynn Broyles, 57, was found dead in the living room. Daughter Cara Lynn Broyles, 27, was shot dead in her bedroom as she was waking up. Son Aaron Christopher Broyles, 28, was killed in his bedroom after his door was broken in, Leeper said.
“He then went back to get another gun, came back and shot his son again,” the sheriff said.
“It doesn’t make sense when you look at the whole circumstance of what we believe happened,” Leeper said. “It’s just a senseless act. When he was asked why he just didn’t shoot himself, he said he was too scared to do that, which is crazy.”
Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church did not immediately respond to calls for comment from The Christian Post on Friday. In a statement on its website, the church urged prayers for the Broyles family. It is unclear where the minister’s other son, Evan Broyles, was at the time of the murders.
“It is with tremendous sadness that I report to you that this Wednesday morning Bill Broyles, our director of music, confessed to shooting his wife and two of his children,” a statement from Pastor Jonathan T. Swanson said.
Leeper said there is no history of any domestic or anger issues in the past with the family.
“Bill has been part of our church staff for 23 years, and this was completely out of character. We mourn this devastating loss to the church, Bill’s remaining family, and the larger community. We ask that you would hold the members of the Broyles family, our church family, and Bill himself in your prayers regarding this tragedy.”
At a virtual bond hearing Thursday, Broyles appeared barefoot and was dressed in a safety smock to prevent suicide attempts. Broyles was charged with three counts of second-degree murder. A judge also denied him bond and ordered him to appear in court again on Dec. 21.
According to his church, Broyles is a trained industrial engineer who, prior to the murders, “worked in the Aerospace and Medical Device industries for many years.”
He was driven by a passion for music as well, and, according to the church, “believes that music was created by God for His Glory and that the church stands as a witness to the grace and lordship of Jesus when our music glorifies Him in worship and life.”
In an archived page on the church’s website, Broyles was further described as: “[H]appily married for 30 years to Candace and they have three children, sons Evan and Aaron and daughter Cara, along [with] three crazy Corgi pups. In his free time, Bill enjoys all types of outdoor activities, reworking older cars, and home and garden projects.”
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.
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