At the sheriff’s office in Travis County, Tex., home to Austin, Broderick investigated property crimes until he was arrested in June and charged with sexually assaulting a child, Dark said. He was placed on administrative leave and later resigned.
“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. “TCSO is standing by to provide any and all assistance we can to the families of the victims in their time of need.”
Broderick is accused of killing three people Sunday at an apartment complex in what authorities described as a “domestic situation.” The victims were identified as Willie Simmons III, 18, Alyssa Broderick, 17, and Amanda Broderick, 35.
In a statement, the Elgin Independent School District described Willie Simmons III and Alyssa Broderick as talented students and athletes. Simmons was a senior at Elgin High School, where he was captain of the football team and “a leader among his peers,” the statement said, describing him as “the very best of Elgin ISD.” He had been recruited to play football for the University of North Texas.
Alyssa Broderick attended the district’s schools from 2009 to last fall, when she withdrew. She was a star student and athlete, the district said, enrolling in its early college high school program and playing on the girls’ basketball team. Court records show she was 17 years old.
“The Elgin ISD community grieves the loss of these two young, promising souls,” the school district’s statement said.
The FBI and U.S. marshals assisted local law enforcement in the search for Broderick. At one point, authorities told residents to shelter in place and said police were concerned that Broderick “might possibly take a hostage.”
Reporters on Sunday captured footage of a massive law enforcement presence. Ambulances were lined up outside a shopping center, their lights flashing. Police shut down a road, with patrol cars and police tape blocking it off.
Helicopters circled overhead, and several officers wore heavy protective armor.
In the June case that led to Broderick’s departure from law enforcement, a 16-year-old girl told her mother that Broderick had sexually assaulted her, court records show. The woman immediately took the teenager to a children’s hospital, where an examination found evidence of physical trauma. Court records indicate that the victim in that case was Alyssa Broderick.
A grand jury indicted Broderick on multiple charges of sexual assault of a child, along with assault by strangulation of a family member. The victim was the same in the sexual assault and strangulation incidents and was identified by a pseudonym, Jasmine Brown, in court records.
After Broderick’s June 6 arrest, he was released on a $50,000 bond, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement, pending his trial. He had to wear a GPS monitor as part of the conditions for release, according to court records.
But in October, a judge agreed to allow Broderick to remove the monitor after his defense attorney noted that he had worn it for 142 days with no substantial violations. The defense motion said that he had stayed in compliance with a protective order involving everyone in the sexual assault case.
Prosecutors, the defense motion added, had said they would consider removal of the GPS monitor if Broderick had no major violations after 90 days of wearing it.
About seven years before his arrest on charges of child sexual assault, state police investigated him after he and another officer shot a 78-year-old man who later died of his wounds. At the time, Broderick worked for the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, which said the older man brandished a gun at the officers and ignored orders to drop the weapon. A resident called Broderick and the other officer “trigger-happy” in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman.
Two of Broderick’s former neighbors Sunday described him as “creepy and reclusive” and said they lived near him for years but “could count on two hands the number of words we exchanged.”
The Austin episode unfolded about a month after a gunman killed eight people at Atlanta-area spas in March, beginning 34 days of violence during which the country has averaged nearly two shootings of four or more people per day, according to the Gun Violence Archive. During that span, 82 people have been killed and 228 injured, including the eight who were fatally shot at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Thursday before a former employee’s rampage ended in suicide.
During the weekend, reports had just surfaced that the gunman in Indianapolis had legally purchased two assault rifles, even after authorities had temporarily detained him and seized another gun months before, when news broke of the Austin shooting and another in Kenosha, Wis. The drumbeat of mass shootings and the everyday instances of gun violence that plague nearly every corner of the country have fueled more calls for stricter gun laws and ratcheted up pressure on a sympathetic White House.
“I’m not going to give up until it’s done,” President Biden said last week of efforts to ban assault weapons and expand background checks for firearm purchases.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the state’s Republican leadership has balked at further restrictions. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has said he wants Texas to become a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary State.”
Alice Crites contributed to this report.