A manhunt for a former Texas sheriff's deputy suspected in the fatal shooting of three people in Austin ended Monday when authorities said he was arrested without incident about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the scene of the weekend attack.
Prosecutors said they would pursue capital murder charges against 41-year-old Stephen Broderick who was being held without bail at the Travis County Jail.
A school district near Austin said the victims in Sunday's shooting included both a high school football team captain and another student who was enrolled in an early college program before leaving last fall. Police have said Broderick knew the victims but have not said how, and they have not offered a possible motive.
Officers found Broderick along a rural road shortly after sunrise in Manor, an Austin suburb, after receiving reports of a suspicious person matching the description of the suspect in Sunday's shooting, Manor Police Chief Ryan Phipps said. He said Broderick had a loaded pistol in his waistband.
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"I'm truly heartbroken that a former Travis County Sheriff's Office Deputy is the suspect in such a horrific incident," Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said in a statement.
First responders were called to an active shooting at 11:42 a.m. Sunday at an apartment complex near Great Hills Trail and Rain Creek Parkway in a popular shopping area known as the Arboretum. Authorities sent active shooter alerts on social media, unnerving Austin residents at a time when the U.S. has been wracked in recent weeks by mass killings.
A heavy presence of police swarmed the area, a busy Austin highway was closed in both directions and police told residents to shelter in place as they looked for the suspected shooter. As the manhunt got underway, police later said they did not believe the suspect was targeting random people but urged residents to remain vigilant.
Broderick had been previously arrested on charges related to sexual assault against a child, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said. Court records show that a protective order had previously been filed against Broderick.
It was not immediately clear whether Broderick had an attorney.
Authorities had not released the identities of those killed Sunday. But Jodi Duron, superintendent of the Elgin Independent School District near Austin, said the victims included Alyssa Broderick and Willie Simmons III.
Duron said Broderick was an "excellent student and athlete" who was on the basketball team and had been in Elgin schools for a decade before leaving last fall. Simmons was a senior at Elgin High School, where he was the football team captain and had been recently recruited to play at the University of North Texas next year.
Omasha Brantley coached both teenagers at Elgin High School and said they excelled both in and out of the classroom.
"She was an early college student, Willie was an A-B student," Brantley said. "Those were kids you would just go look for every day."
Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said the shooting victims were two women and a man.
"Obviously this is a tragedy. We have people who have lost their lives out here," Chacon said. "We are going to be doing our very best to conduct the best investigation that we can and also to get this person into custody as quickly as possible and hopefully with no further loss of life."
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said in a statement that Broderick had been arrested for sexual assault of a child last June and was released on $50,000 bond. He said that the district attorney's office on Sunday filed a motion to revoke that bond.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Kristen Dark told the Austin American-Statesman that Broderick, a property crimes detective, resigned after the arrest on charges of sexual assault of a child last June. The newspaper also reports that Broderick's wife filed for a protective order and divorce shortly after his arrest.
Brenda Torres said she was driving by when she saw a little boy flag down a car and a Black man lying facedown on the ground.
"I saw the little boy point down the street," Torres said. "There was someone lying on the ground. I thought someone had just fallen down or something. As my light turns green and I'm driving, I see cop car after cop car after cop car rushing toward where I just was."
Images from the scene showed a large presence of emergency responders, including dozens of police cars. There are also several ambulances and two SWAT trucks at the scene, and two police helicopters.
Josh Katzowitz, who had been shopping at the nearby Trader Joe's, said police and ambulances came "pouring in" to the area as he was leaving. He didn't hear any shooting.
"The cops had their guns out," he said. "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."
The shooting took place in the Arboretum area, a popular shopping destination with numerous retail stores and apartment complexes situated near wooded rolling hills.