MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – Deputies say a man shot and killed his parents at their home north of Houston late Tuesday.
Joseph Branstetter, 24, gunned down his parents around 10 p.m. on Oak Knoll Drive west of FM 1314, according to investigators.
The sheriff’s office said a 12-year-old girl at the home called 911 to report the shooting, telling dispatchers her uncle shot her grandparents. When deputies arrived, the girl was waiting in the driveway, but the suspect was already gone.
Cathy Gibbs, 58, was found lying in the driveway. The body of her husband, 54-year-old Randall Branstetter, was inside the home.
After the shootings, the couple’s son briefly fled to the nearby town of Porter. He later returned to the home to turn himself in, deputies said.
"I’m the one you’re looking for," Branstetter told them.
According to detectives, Branstetter confessed, but he claims it was an accident.
Deputies said the suspect’s niece witnessed the whole thing.
"There’s no defined motive at this point," said Sgt. Dan Zientek. "The juvenile was present and was able to give a pretty good account, and there was nothing to indicate problems leading up to the shooting."
Branstetter has been charged with capital murder and remains jailed without bond.
The family made headlines in 2010 for a very different reason. Joseph Branstetter helped rescue the pilot of a small plane that crashed near their home.
Now family and friends are trying to figure out what happened to turn the young hero into an accused killer.