Hugh Hootman, Florida Double Murder Suspect: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

hugh hootman florida

Martin County Sheriffs Office Hugh Hootman is accused in a Florida double murder.

Hugh Hootman is a 75-year-old Florida man who fatally shot his neighbors during a dispute connected to their homeowner’s association, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. Ginger Wallace and Henry Wallace, both 81, were killed in the December 3, 2022, shooting at the Cedar Pointe Condominium complex in Stuart, Florida, the sheriff’s office said.

Hootman lived in a condo above the Wallaces and Ginger Wallace was the president of the complex’s HOA, according to the sheriff’s office. Details of the “ongoing dispute” were not immediately available. Hootman was being held in jail and could not be reached for comment by Heavy. It was not immediately clear if he has hired an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

“Ginger was the president of that HOA of that building,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told TCPalm, a local newspaper. “And it does appear to us from witness statements that the shooter and Ginger had some disagreement over HOA issues. I don’t know what those were, though. … We got the call at 3:18 p.m. and we happened to be very close to that apartment. We had several SWAT team members there because they were getting ready to go out to the Hobe Sound parade for security.”

The sheriff said the victims were found on a sidewalk not far from their front door, according to TCPalm. He told the newspaper Hootman was in his home when deputies arrived. “Less than 20 minutes after arrival, he then walked out of the apartment and surrendered,” Snyder told TCPalm.

Here’s what you need to know about Hugh Hootman:

1. Hugh Hootman Told Police ‘I Lost My Temper’ After Shooting His Neighbors With a 9mm Pistol During a Dispute at the Condo Complex’s Mailbox, Court Documents Show

ginger wallace henry wallace florida

Martin County Sheriffs OfficeGinger Wallace and Henry Wallace were fatally shot in Stuart, Florida.

According to the arrest affidavit filed by investigators, Henry Wallace was shot in the head and torso area, while his wife, Ginger Wallace, was shot in the torso area. There were multiple bullet casings found next to each of them, police said. Both were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the affidavit.

During an interview with investigators, Hootman said, “several days ago the victim, Henry Wallace, came to his apartment and confronted,” Hootman’s wife, according to the affidavit. Henry Wallace was upset that Hootman’s wife had left the door to the community laundry room open, investigators said in the affidavit. Hootman said Henry Wallace “cussed and yelled,” and that made his wife “very upset.”

According to the affidavit, Hootman said he was going to check his mail in the community mailbox at the condo complex when he saw Henry Wallace. Hootman said he told Wallace he needed to apologize to his wife for “cussing and yelling at her,” according to the affidvait. “Hugh Hootman stated Henry Wallace ignored him and attempted to push past Hugh Hootman to walk away. Hugh hootman stated, ‘I lost my temper,” investigators wrote in the affidavit.

Hootman told investigators he then took his 9mm pistol out of his right pocket, charged a round in the chamber and pointed the gun at Henry Wallace with both hands before shooting him twice in the chest area, according to the affidavit. “Hugh Hootman demonstrated this to me, and he was approximately 3-4 feet away from Henry Wallace when the shots were fired. Hugh Hootman stated Henry Wallace collapsed to the ground,” the detective wrote.

According to the affidavit, Ginger Wallace then came out of her apartment and started yelling and screaming after her husband was shot. Hootman told investigators he didn’t remember what she was saying. He told detectives she did not advance toward him and was standing close to her husband’s body when Hootman “raised his pistol again with both hands and fired two more shots at Ginger Wallace.” He said Ginger Wallace collapsed. He was about 5 to 6 feet away, the detective said.

2. Hootman Went Into His House & Said ‘Call the Police, I Just Shot Henry & Ginger,’ & Then Wrote an Apology Letter, According to the Arrest Affidavit

hugh hootman florida shooting

Martin County Sheriffs OfficeThe scene of a double homicide in Stuart, Florida.

According to the affidavit, Hootman then went back to his apartment and put his pistol on a wooden stand in the living room. He told his wife, “call the police, I just shot Henry and Ginger.” He told investigators he did not say anything else to his wife until after deputies arrived at the scene.

Investigators wrote in the affidavit that Hootman’s wife did call 911 and said her husband had shot the neighbors downstairs. She said he was with her and “took the gun apart and then it was left outside.” She said there hd been an “ongoing dispute over the washer and dryer,” the affidvait said. When deputies arrived, they found the Wallaces dead on a sidewalk and took positions around the apartment complex. Hootman then surrendered shortly after, the affidavit said.

Hootman told investigators he has a concealed carry permit (CCW) and “he normally carries his 9mm pistol in his pocket for protection,” but he said he “never keeps a round in the chamber of the firearm,” according to the affidavit. Hootman told detectives he was “so sorry,” and said, “wish I could take it back,” according to the affidavit. He also wrote an apology letter, investigators wrote. The detective said Hootman “kept reiterating how upset he was that Henry Wallace had yelled at” his wife “and would not apologize,” according to the affidavit.

3. Hootman, Who Moved to Florida From Ohio, Is Being Charged With First-Degree Premeditated Murder

Hugh Duane Hootman and his wife moved to Florida from Ohio, according to public records and a family member’s obituary. They are parents of at least one child and have at least one grandchild, according to social media posts. Hugh Hootman was retired. He does not appear to have a prior criminal record.

According to court records, Hootman has been charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. He is being held without bond at the Martin County Jail. Details about Hootman’s first court appearance were not immediately available.

Joanne Ryder, another neighbor, said the Wallaces were from New Jersey, according to TCPalm. Ryder told the newspaper about Ginger Wallace, “I had a lot of respect for the woman. She had to deal with a lot as the president. She was only doing her job, and in the short amount of time that I knew her, she was so helpful to me.”

A Christmas tree lighting and barbecue event planned for Saturday night at the complex was canceled after the shooting, Ryder said. “This is a retirement community … you don’t expect something like this to happen. It’s a real tragedy. Now they have to notify the family that both parents were killed before Christmas. That’s horrible.”

4. Hootman & His Wife Were Sued Over an Unpaid Loan in 2009, Court Records Show

While court records do not reveal any previous criminal charges for Hugh Hootman, he has had financial issues in the past. Hootman and his wife were sued in 2009 in Martin County court over an unpaid loan debt, court documents viewed by Heavy show. The case was eventually settled, records show.

According to the court documents, Hootman and his wife owed more than $11,800, along with $4,000 in interest, and had not made a payment on the loan in over a year. Further details about that case were not immediately available.

In 2005, a foreclosure case was brought against the Hootmans while they were living at the Emerald Lake Townhomes. The homeowner’s association sued the couple, claiming they owed between $2,500 to $15,000 in debt. That case was also eventually settled, in 2006, court records viewed by Heavy show.

5. There Were 2 Other Shootings in Stuart Within 24 Hours, the Sheriff Said

According to the sheriff’s office, the double homicide at the condominium complex was the third shooting incident in Stuart in 24 hours. The other two shooting incidents were not fatal. Stuart is a city of about 17,000 people on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, about an hour north of West Palm Beach.

Ri’ahj Lee Thomas, a 20-year-old Fort Pierce man, is wanted in connection to a shooting that happened about 10 a.m. at the Indian Run Apartments in Stuart, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators said Thomas shot a man in the leg and then fled from the scene. In the third incident, a 14-year-old boy accidentally shot his friend just after midnight on December 3. The victim was treated for injuries at a local hospital and released, the sheriff’s office said. The 14-year-old is not facing charges.

Sheriff William Snyder told TCPalm, “It is unusual to have that many shootings here, but they weren’t related. They were outliers. This does not indicate a widespread threat to our community.”

Stuart Police Chief Joseph Tumminelli told WPTV, “In the last 26 years that I’ve been here at the police department, December 3, 2022, was by far the most unprecedented day of my career here. I do not want to have three shootings in one day: one accidental, one attempted and a double homicide. I mean, it’s just out of the ordinary for our city and our county.”