COPS are hunting for a former sheriff’s detective who is suspected of fatally shooting three people in Austin after he was fired for an alleged child sex assault.
Police have named the “armed and dangerous” suspect as Stephen Nicholas Broderick, 41, on Sunday, as SWAT teams and helicopters searched for him after the triple shooting at an apartment complex in the Arboretum area.
Locals were initially warned to stay at home due to fears the shooter could take a hostage, despite police describing the incident as a “domestic situation.”
The three victims – who have yet to be identified – were two women and a man known to Broderick, according to local media outlets.
As of Sunday night, Austin Police Department Chief Joseph Chacon said those in the area no longer had to shelter in place, the Associated Press reported.
He advised people to “remain vigilant,” however, and confirmed that the hunt for the Broderick has become a “fugitive search.”
News of the manhunt comes as:
The police chief added that all the victims were “known to this suspect.”
“At this point, we do not think this individual is out there targeting random people to shoot,” Chacon said. “That does not mean he is not dangerous.”
Earlier on Sunday afternoon, he revealed that when officers arrived at the scene, “they located three people who were injured and ultimately have been pronounced deceased.”
“All three are adults, we have two Hispanic females and one Black male,” Chacon went on.
“Our suspect, at this point, we think we know who it is, he is identified and I will be putting his name out because it is a matter of public safety at this point because he is still not in custody.
“He is tentatively identified as Stephen Nicholas Broderick, he’s a Black male, 41 years of age, he’s described as being 5ft7 with an average build, wearing a gray hoodie, sunglasses and a baseball cap.
“We are concerned he might possibly take a hostage and be himself sheltered somewhere waiting for us to leave.”
Broderick was a former detective with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, according to KEYE TV, who noted that a child was involved but is now safely in police custody.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Sunday that Broderick was charged with first-degree felony sexual assault of a child in June last year.
He was arrested on a $50,000 bond, the DA’s office said.
On Sunday, the DA’s office added in a statement that they filed a motion to revoke the bond and are “actively supporting the Austin Police Department and law enforcement who are using all available resources to apprehend Mr. Broderick.”
When asked earlier Sunday if the suspect was a former detective facing child sex charges, Chacon had refused to confirm.
He said: “We do have some preliminary information that he might be prior law enforcement, but I don’t have that confirmed at this time.”
According to an arrest affidavit seen by the Austin American-Statesman, the assault happened at a home in the town of Elgin.
The victim cried to her mother, who took her to an exam, the outlet reported.
Doctors then confirmed the abuse, the affidavit said.
Chacon added that cops don’t know if the suspect is in a vehicle or on foot but that he is being searched for, including by helicopters.
“What we are asking from the residents in this area is continue to shelter in place. This is still an ongoing and active investigation and we do not have this individual in custody.”
He said Broderick knew the victims but didn’t elaborate on how or provide a motive for the shootings. Chacon also said a child was involved, but that they have been located and are safe.
Chacon added the three were not shot in a building but did not immediately give any further details.
There are also several ambulances and two SWAT trucks at the scene, and two police helicopters.
The police chief described Broderick as a black male, standing 5 feet, 7 inches tall.
He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, baseball cap and sunglasses.
Police do not know if Broderick is in a vehicle or if he’s moving by foot, Chacon said.
Cops have urged anyone with information to call 911.
Images from the scene showed a large presence of emergency responders, including dozens of police cars.
Austin-Travis County EMS spokeswoman Capt. Christa Stedman said early this afternoon that it was still an active scene in the 9600 block of Great Hills Trail and that no arrests have been made.
She said the first 911 call came in shortly before 11.45am and that three adults were fatally shot.
Stedman said she did not know the exact location where the three people were killed, but that emergency personnel responded to an area that included a strip mall, several retail stores with a large apartment complex behind it.
Cops closed Loop 360 in both directions from Spicewoods Springs to 183 due to the incident.
Josh Katzowitz, who had been shopping at the nearby Trader Joes, said police and ambulances came pouring in to the area as he was leaving. He didn’t hear any shooting.
“The cops had their guns out”, he told Associated Press.
“Some had pistols, some had rifles and they were strapping on bulletproof vests.
“There were all of a sudden ambulances, sirens and police cars. There were cops coming from everywhere.”
It comes just days a suspected teen shooter stormed an Indianapolis FedEx facility on Thursday night, killing eight and injuring seven before turning the gun on himself.
Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci has weighed in on gun control as he branded the recent spate of mass shootings across the country a “public health emergency”.
“When you see people getting killed, I mean, in this last month, it’s just been horrifying what’s happened,” the president’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Last month, the House passed a gun control legislation that would expand background checks on all commercial firearm sales and transfers including those sold between parties, online, and at gun shows.
The bill needs to pass the Senate for the legislation to be approved but members of the GOP are resisting the outlined gun reform, according to CNN.
Some GOP members think there are enough background checks in place while others believe that the root cause of crimes should be addressed instead
“How can you say that’s not a public health issue?”
Several shootings have broken out across the country over the last week.
Last night, a woman was killed and at least five people were injured when they were shot during a vigil for a gun violence victim in Columbus, Ohio.
LaToya Renee Carpenter, 32, was killed when a gunman opened fire on a group she was with at a parking lot of a Dollar General store, according to local reports.
Mass protests erupted in streets across the nation this month over the police killings of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright.
Protests demanding justice for Toledo and Wright have turned violent in different parts of the country as clashes broke out in Chicago, NYC, and Minnesota.