Austin, TX — On Sunday, "Austin" began trending on Twitter as a gunman shot three people to death in the state's capital. A shelter in place order was issued for the city's northwest suburbs and the city went on alert over fears the gunman may take a hostage.
“The cops had their guns out,” Josh Katzowitz, who had been shopping at the nearby Trader Joe’s on Sunday, told the Houston Chronicle. “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.”
Local and federal law enforcement spent much of the day searching the Great Hills Trail and Rain Creek Parkway area in northwest Austin where the killings took place.
Around 5 p.m. Sunday evening, Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon lifted the order and said police had identified the shooter, and noted that he was dangerous but not targeting random people. Two of those killed, according to reports, had been students at Elgin High School — Willie Simmons III and Alyssa Broderick, while the third victim is believed to be the shooter's mother.
"We do not think this individual is out there targeting random people to shoot them," Chacon said. "That does not mean he is not dangerous. We do think that he is armed and he is very much dangerous."
Monday morning, after a 20-hour manhunt, police arrested the alleged shooter after someone spotted him and called 911. He was identified as 41-year-old Stephen Nicholas Broderick.
“I’m especially grateful to the vigilant citizen who called 911 after seeing Broderick, and to the Manor PD officers and TCSO deputies who took him into custody this morning,” Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said in a statement.
Recommended for You
Broderick was armed at the time of his arrest but was brought in without firing any shots. One possible reason he was brought in without incident could be the fact that Broderick, himself, was a cop.
Sheriff Hernandez knows exactly who Broderick is, as he was employed at her department as a Travis County Sheriff’s detective. However, he was allowed to quietly resign in June after his arrest for child rape.
“I’m truly heartbroken that a former Travis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy is the suspect in such a horrific incident,” Sheriff Hernandez added. “TCSO is standing by to provide any, and all assistance we can to the families of the victims in their time of need.
“I’m proud of the integrity and professionalism shown by the men and women of TCSO, APD and other law enforcement agencies, who worked tirelessly throughout the night to locate Stephen Broderick.”
Tragically, it appears that this incident might have been avoidable had the accused child rapist received a higher bail amount. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Broderick was released from custody in June after posting $50,000 bail, the district attorney's office said.
This case illustrates several points. One of them is the tendency of law enforcement to engage in domestic violence. This cop is accused of killing his own mother — a peak act of domestic violence.
Another point illustrated by this case is the level of child rape which takes place within the ranks of police departments. It also highlights the often-low bail amounts and special privilege given to police officers after they have been caught preying on society's most vulnerable.
The third point that this illustrates is one of gun control. As the anti-gun crowd pushes to disarm law-abiding gun owners — instead of examining the reason behind the violence — this incident shows us that even if cops were the only ones with guns, mass shootings can and will still take place.