AUSTIN, Texas – Federal and local authorities searched Sunday night for a former sheriff’s deputy suspected of having shot and killed three people in an incident classified by officials as domestic.
Authorities said the shooting was reported just before noon at an apartment complex and police vehicles, tactical units and SWAT teams were swarming in the parking lot of a nearby shopping complex.
Authorities have fixed the shelter near the apartment complex, but the suspect remains at large, said Austin interim police chief Joe Chacon.
“Obviously this is a tragedy. We have people who lost their lives here, ”said interim police chief Joe Chacon. “We will do our best … to take this person into custody.”
Chacon said the shooting appeared to be a result of a domestic argument. He identified the suspect as Stephen Nicholas Broderick and stated that he could be armed and dangerous.
Preliminary information indicated that Broderick knew the victims, two women and one man, and that the shooting was being targeted. A child was involved, Chacon said, but was safe in police custody.
Records show that Broderick, a former Travis County Sheriff’s detective, is charged with sexually assaulting a child. Broderick was jailed in June and spent 16 days behind bars before putting on $ 50,000 bail.
According to Kristen Dark, the Travis County Sheriff’s spokeswoman, Broderick, a property crime detective, resigned after his arrest.
Court and public records show that Broderick’s wife applied for a protection order and divorced him shortly after his arrest.
Chacon described Broderick as 5 feet 7 inches with a medium build. Broderick was last seen in a gray hoodie, sunglasses, and baseball cap, Chacon said.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said filming took place at the Arboretum Oaks Apartments, which management calls the “luxury apartment community” on the website.
The police, fire brigade and ambulance responded; Helicopters buzzed over the scene. Spectators and reporters gathered but were held a few blocks from the scene.
The Austin-Travis County Ambulance Service responding to the shooting described it as an “active attack / shooter incident”. EMS said on Twitter that there were no reports of other injuries, and Chacon later said the shooting was no longer considered an active shooter situation.
Josh Katzowitz, who shopped at nearby Trader Joe’s, said police and ambulances “flocked” to the area as he left. He didn’t hear any shots.
“The cops had their guns out,” he said. “Some had pistols, others had rifles, and they were wearing bulletproof vests. Suddenly there were ambulances, sirens and police cars. Police came from all over the place. “
The rampage was the last of multiple gunfire attacks across the country, including an earlier Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin that killed three people. Four or more Americans have been killed in mass murders every week for the past six weeks. Dozens of people died and several others were injured.
President Joe Biden’s calls for tighter gun restrictions to combat the carnage have found little support in Texas. The shooting occurs two days after the Texas House of Representatives approve it and sent a bill to the Senate that would allow anyone 21 or older to carry a pistol without permission.
State officials passed House Bill 1927 in the third and final reading on Friday largely partisan and sent the bill to the Texas Senate.
Bacon reported from Arlington, Virginia.
Contributors: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; John C. Moritz, USA TODAY Network, Austin Bureau; The Associated Press