Federal and local authorities were searching Sunday evening for a former Travis County deputy suspected of shooting three people in what officials described as a domestic violence incident.
The unidentified victims were two women and a man. Police said a child was safe and in police custody.
Policed asked residents near the Arboretum in Northwest Austin to stay inside for several hours as investigators looked for the suspect, Stephen Nicholas Broderick, 41, of Elgin.
Broderick, a former property crimes detective with the Travis County sheriff’s office, resigned in June after being charged with sexual assault of a child.
Before noon, police responded to a 911 call from an address near Great Hills Trail and Rain Creek Parkway and found the victims, who have not been identified. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident was initially reported as an active shooter situation, prompting the involvement of the FBI in the investigation. However, authorities later said the shooting appeared to have stemmed from a domestic situation.
In a media update from near the scene of the shooting, interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon identified Broderick as the tentative suspect, noting that he might be armed and dangerous. Chacon said Broderick is 5 feet 7 inches tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, sunglasses and a cap.
“Obviously this is a tragedy. We have people who have lost their lives here,” Chacon said. “We’ll do our best … to get this person in custody … and hopefully with no more loss of life.”
In a second update around 4:45 p.m., authorities lifted the shelter in place order.
Records show that Broderick is charged with sexual assault of a child-family violence.
Broderick was booked into jail in June and spent 16 days behind bars before posting bail, which was set at $50,000. Court and public records show that Broderick’s wife filed for divorce and for a protective order on behalf of her daughter after her husband’s arrest.
The protective order, agreed upon by both parties, prohibited Broderick from going within 200 yards of the couple’s daughter. Broderick still had visitation rights to the couple’s son for one weekend a month from noon to 4 p.m.
‘Our neighbors, are they OK?’
Authorities urged people to avoid the area while they searched for Broderick. Neighbors were asked to shelter in place, and people were not allowed to enter the area. Police also shut down Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway) in both directions from Spicewood Springs to U.S. 183 while the search continued.
On Sunday afternoon, Michelle Ross and her partner were sitting in the grass across from their apartment at Arboretum Oaks. They had been there for about three hours after they had tried to get home just after noon, but they said police had turned the couple away on Arboretum Boulevard and denied them access by foot when they parked at the adjacent Arboretum Atrium Building.
They were among a handful of people who had milled around the scene as authorities gave updates about the shooting.
“It was a little scary,” Ross said of returning home to find such a large law enforcement presence. “We were safe, but our neighbors, were they OK?”
The couple were not sure when they would be able to return to their apartment or be escorted safely to their residence, as Ross said she had not been able to get close enough to a law enforcement officer to ask.