A POLICE hunt is underway for a former sheriff’s detective who is suspected to have fatally shot three people in Austin, after he was fired for an alleged child sex assault.
SWAT teams and helicopters have been deployed in the search for the “armed and dangerous” suspect 41-year-old Stephen Nicholas Broderick, following the triple shooting at an apartment complex in the Arboretum area.
Who is Stephen Broderick?
The police description of Broderick says he is a black male, standing 5 feet, 7 inches tall.
He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, baseball cap and sunglasses.
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.
Broderick was also reportedly one of two officers involved in a 2013 shooting, in which an elderly Del Valle man was critically injured.
According to the Austin American Statesman, the shooting occurred after deputies responded to reports of a domestic disturbance.
Upon arrival, they saw 78-year-old Jose Manuel Cantu holding a firearm outside the house, so told him to drop the weapon.
When he ignored their repeated requests, it’s said that he then pointed the weapon at the officers, who then fired at him.
Broderick was reportedly placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation at the time of the incident.
What happened in Austin?
Police were called to an Austin address shortly before midday on Sunday and found that three people had been shot. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
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."
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.
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"We are concerned he might possibly take a hostage and be himself sheltered somewhere waiting for us to leave."
Police did not know if Broderick is in a vehicle or if he's moving by foot.
Cops have urged anyone with information to call 911.