Martin Co. man shot, killed neighbors after 'ongoing dispute,' authorities say

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:30 AM EST
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Martin County detectives said an "ongoing dispute" between neighbors ended with an elderly couple gunned down over the weekend.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said Hugh Hootman, 75, is under arrest for two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of husband and wife Ginger and Henry Wallace, both 81.

The sheriff's office said Hootman shot and killed the couple just after 3 p.m. Saturday at the Cedar Pointe condominiums, a 55-and-older community located on East Ocean Boulevard near Stuart.

An arrest report stated that there were multiple bullet casings lying next to each of the two victims.

In a Facebook post, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said an "ongoing dispute appeared to be at the center of the killings."

Hootman lived in a condominium above the victims, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.

After he was arrested, Hootman told detectives that several days ago that Henry Wallace came to his apartment and confronted Hootman's wife, cussing and yelling at her.

He said that Henry Wallace was upset that a community laundry room door was left open.

"The suspect's wife said that the male victim was unkind to her. She wouldn't be specific," Snyder said. "He was unkind, sounds like he might have been abrasive."

Then on Saturday, the day of the shooting, Hootman said he went downstairs to check his mail at the community mailbox. Hootman said that Henry Wallace was also at the mailbox.

Hootman said he told Henry Wallace that he needed to apologize for the confrontation, but Wallace ignored him and attempted to push past him to walk away.

"I lost my temper," Hootman told the detectives.

The suspect said he then retrieved his 9mm pistol from his pocket and charged a round into the chamber.

Hootman said he then pointed the weapon at Henry Wallace with both hands and shot him two times in the chest area, according to the arrest report.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder discusses the investigation into the killings of Henry and...
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder discusses the investigation into the killings of Henry and Ginger Wallace.

He told detectives that Ginger Wallace, who was also the HOA president of the condos, then exited their apartment and started yelling and screaming.

Hootman said she was standing close to her husband's body when he raised his pistol again with both hands and fired two more shots at Ginger Wallace, killing her as well.

After the shootings, Hootman said he walked back upstairs to his apartment and set his pistol on a wooden stand in the living room. He said he then told his wife to "call the police, I just shot Henry and Ginger."

The gunman later told police that he was "so sorry, wish I could take it back" and later wrote an apology letter while he was being interviewed by detectives.

Snyder said he feels that Ginger Wallace's role as the HOA president played a part in the shooting.

"At least the two confrontations, that we know about prior to the double homicide, all stem from HOA rules, HOA enforcement rules, the demeanor of the female victim and her husband," Snyder said.

Hootman faces two counts of first-degree murder.

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