AUSTIN, Texas – The vast, tense manhunt across the state for a former sheriff's deputy suspected of killing three people in a shooting rampage ended Monday on a quiet rural road a few miles from the scene of the carnage.
The deadly shooting spree Sunday was the latest of several across the nation, including one hours earlier 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 communities overcome with shock and grief.
Stephen Nicholas Broderick, 41, was arrested in nearby Manor after authorities received two 911 calls around 7:30 a.m. about a man walking along the road. Manor Police Chief Ryan Phipps, who released a video of the arrest, said Broderick had a pistol in his waistband when apprehended but offered no resistance.
Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon described Sunday's shooting as "domestic violence." Chacon said the shootings were not random, that Broderick knew the victims, two women and a man.
The Elgin school district on Monday identified two victims as Alyssa Broderick, a student in the district from 2009 to October 2020, and Willie Simmons, a senior at Elgin High School. Both were described as bright and athletic; Simmons had committed to play football at the University of North Texas next year.
"We are heartbroken by the news of this senseless tragedy, and we extend our deepest condolences to the families," the district said in a statement.
Broderick faced charges of sexual assault before the shooting. Records show he spent more than two weeks behind bars before posting bail in June. Court and public records show that Broderick's wife filed for divorce and for a protective order after her husband's arrest in the assault case.
Broderick was ordered to surrender all firearms and not obtain any new ones and to wear a GPS tracking device. Last November, a Travis County judge agreed to order removal of the device after Broderick's lawyer argued that his client had worn the electronic monitor for 142 days with no substantial violations.
Travis County District Attorney José Garza said he will request Broderick be held without bail.
Broderick worked for the sheriff's office in Travis County, which includes Austin, from March 2008 until his arrest last June.
“I’m truly heartbroken that a former Travis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy is the suspect in such a horrific incident,” Sheriff Sally Hernandez said in a statement.
Here's what we know about the shootings and the suspect:
Shooting reported just before noon Sunday
Police responded to a 911 call from an address near Arboretum Oaks Apartments and an upscale shopping district. Officers found three gunshot victims, and an emergency medical team attempted CPR before pronouncing them dead.
The incident was initially reported as an active-shooter situation, prompting the involvement of the FBI in the investigation. Authorities said the shooting appeared to have stemmed from a domestic situation. Authorities urged people to avoid the area while they searched for Broderick. Neighbors were asked to shelter in place for hours, and people were not allowed to enter the area.
What we know about Stephen Nicholas Broderick
Broderick has two children with Amanda Broderick, who filed for divorce after his arrest in June.
Records show Stephen Broderick is a former Travis County Sheriff's Office detective, who started work with the department March 16, 2008. On March 12, 2013, Broderick was one of two officers involved in shooting and critically injuring an elderly man. He was placed on administrative leave with pay, pending an investigation, according to the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the incident.
Broderick, a property crimes detective, resigned after his arrest last year on child sexual assault charges, according to Travis County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kristen Dark.
Suspect Stephen Broderick: What we know
Broderick's criminal record
Records show that Broderick also faces charges of sexual assault. Broderick was booked into jail in June and spent 16 days behind bars before posting bail. Court and public records show that Broderick's wife filed for divorce and for a protective order 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 had visitation rights to the couple's son for one weekend a month from noon to 4 p.m. Broderick was ordered to wear a GPS tracking device.
Broderick's wife feared for safety
In an application for a protective order after Broderick's arrest, Amanda Broderick said she worried about her safety and that of their children.
"I'm afraid he will try to hurt me or my children, because these allegations have come out and he may lose his career," she said. "Stephen has prior military experience and is SWAT-trained. If he wanted to hurt someone, he would know how."
Broderick required to surrender firearms
Months after his release on bail, with his case pending, a Travis County judge on Nov. 5 ordered the removal of his tracking device. Broderick's lawyer argued in a written motion to the court that Broderick had worn the electronic monitor for 142 days with no substantial violations and that it should be removed. State District Judge Karen Sage agreed, a decision that left Broderick largely unsupervised months after his wife said she feared for the safety of the family with Broderick out of jail. Broderick's bail conditions required him to surrender all firearms and not obtain any new ones.
Judge defends order removing electronic monitor
In an interview with the American-Statesman on Sunday, Sage said she typically agrees to remove tracking devices when a defendant has exhibited a pattern of compliance and has not incurred any violations. Sage, who left in place Broderick's no-contact and distancing stipulations, said she rarely keeps defendants on GPS tracking for more than 90 days if they have been compliant.
"He had been on GPS for (five) months with no violations," Sage said. "It's a pretty common thing for me to do, frankly."
Bacon reported from Arlington, Virginia. Contributing: Matthew Odam and Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera, Austin American-Statesman; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Austin shooting: Police arrest suspect Stephen Nicholas Broderick