A sheriff’s detective has turned active shooter and killed three adults in Austin after being put on unpaid leave over child sex claims, as SWAT teams and FBI agents issued a shelter at home order amid fears the gunman could take a hostage.
Joseph Chacon, Chief of Police at Austin Police Deportment, named the ‘armed and dangerous’ suspect as 41-year-old Stephen Nicholas Broderick, who allegedly shot the trio at an apartment complex near The Arboretum in the north-west of the city in what officers called a ‘domestic situation’.
Police say a child was involved but is safely in custody.
A former Travis County Sheriff’s Detective also called Stephen Broderick was put on unpaid leave after he was charged with sexually assaulting a child in June last year.
And the local CBS affiliate is reporting that the gunman was the former detective, who had been charged with with first-degree felony child sex assault.
Police would not comment if the suspect in Sunday’s shooting was facing other criminal charges but told reporters he ‘might be former law enforcement’.
Helicopters, SWAT teams and FBI agents are now involved in a frenzied search while urging anyone who sees Broderick to call 911.
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Shots were first reported Sunday in a 911 call at 11.42am CT, with Austin Police Department at 1pm confirming that the shooter was still active.
In a second release 40 minutes later, APD said the incident is believed to be a ‘domestic situation’ and suggested the gunman did not pose a risk to the wider public.
However, Austin Chief of Police Joseph Chacon later told reporters at a press conference that police were advising people to shelter at home over fears the shooter could ‘take a hostage’.
He said police were no longer treating the case as an active shooter incident but ‘danger remains high’.
Chief Chacon said police were on the scene four minutes after receiving reports that shots have been fired.
He identified the victims as two Hispanic women and one black man.
Describing the suspect, he said: ‘We think we know our suspect, Stephen Nicholas Broderick, 41.
‘We are concerned he might possibly take a hostage and be himself sheltered somewhere waiting for us to leave.’
He said Broderick is 5 feet, 7 inches (1.7 meters) tall and Black. He was wearing a gray hoodie, sunglasses and a baseball cap.
Chacon continued: ‘We don’t know if he’s on a vehicle or on foot. We are asking individuals to continue sheltering in place because this is still an active.’
Asked if the suspect was a former detective facing child sex charges also called Stephen Broderick, Chief Chacon refused to confirm this but said: ‘We do have some preliminary information that he might be prior law enforcement, but I don’t have that confirmed at this time.’
Also also said that a child was involved in Sunday’s incident but was unharmed and is now with police.
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