AUSTIN — Federal and local authorities were searching Sunday evening for a former sheriff’s deputy suspected of shooting three people in what officials described as a domestic violence incident.
Authorities said the shooting was reported shortly before noon at an apartment complex, and police vehicles, tactical units and SWAT teams swarmed the parking lot of a nearby shopping complex.
Authorities have lifted the shelter in place order near the apartment complex, but the suspect remains at large, Interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon said.
“Obviously this is a tragedy. We have people who have lost their lives here,” Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon said. “We’ll do our best … to get this person in custody.”
Chacon said the shooting appeared to stem from a domestic dispute. He identified the suspect as Stephen Nicholas Broderick and considered him armed and dangerous.
Preliminary information indicated that Broderick knew the victims, two women and a man, and that the shooting was targeted. A child was involved, Chacon said, but was safe in police custody.
“However, danger remains high,” he said.
Records show Broderick, a former Travis County sheriff’s office detective, is facing charges of sexual assault of a child. Broderick was booked into jail in June and spent 16 days behind bars before posting bail, which was set at $50,000.
Broderick, a property crimes detective, resigned after his arrest, according to Travis County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristen Dark.
Court and public records show that Broderick’s wife filed for a protective order and divorce him shortly after his arrest.
Chacon described Broderick as 5 foot 7 inches with a medium build. Broderick was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, sunglasses and a baseball cap, Chacon said.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the shooting took place at Arboretum Oaks Apartments, which management describes on the website as a “luxury apartment community.”
Police, fire and EMS responded; helicopters buzzed over the scene. Onlookers and reporters gathered but were kept several blocks from the scene.
The Austin-Travis County EMS, which responded to the shooting, described an 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 had been shopping at the nearby Trader Joe’s, 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 said. “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.”
The rampage was the latest of several shooting attacks across the nation, including one earlier Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that left three people dead. Mass killings have claimed four or more American lives every week for the past six weeks, leaving dozens dead and several more people wounded in their wake.
President Joe Biden’s calls for tighter gun restrictions to combat the carnage have drawn little support in Texas. The shooting comes two days after the Texas House of Representatives approved and sent to the state Senate a bill that would allow anyone at least 21 years old to carry a handgun without a permit.
State representatives passed House Bill 1927 largely along party lines in the third and final reading Friday, sending the piece of legislation to the Texas Senate.
Bacon reported from Arlington, Virginia.
Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; John C. Moritz, USA TODAY Network, Austin Bureau; The Associated Press