Texas police hunt gunman after three shot dead

Austin police chief Joseph Chacon said the suspect, Stephen Broderick, was considered armed and dangerous.

Austin-Fatal Shooting
Austin-Fatal Shooting

A 41-year-old man is wanted after the fatal shooting of three people in Austin, Texas.

Police officials searching the surrounding area on Sunday warned residents that the suspect might take a hostage.

Interim Austin police chief Joseph Chacon said the suspect, Stephen Broderick, was considered armed and dangerous.

He asked area residents to shelter in place and to call their neighbours to check on them.

Austin Fatal Shooting
A heavy police presence has been deployed (Bronte Wittpenn/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

“We are concerned he might possibly take a hostage and be himself sheltered somewhere waiting for us to leave,” Mr Chacon said during a news conference on Sunday afternoon.

He said Broderick, who is 5ft 7in, was wearing a grey hoodie, sunglasses and a baseball cap.

Mr Chacon said Broderick is suspected of killing of two Hispanic women and a black man.

He said Broderick knew the victims but did not elaborate on how or provide a motive for the shootings. Mr Chacon also said a child was involved but that the child has been located and is safe.

Brenda Torres said she was driving by when she saw a little boy flag down a car and a black man lying face down on the ground

“I saw the little boy point down the street,” Ms 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.”

Austin Fatal Shooting
Police are hunting for the gunman (Bronte Wittpenn/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Images from the scene showed a large presence of emergency responders, including dozens of police cars. There were also several ambulances and two Swat trucks at the scene, and two police helicopters.

The area includes a strip mall containing several retail stores and large apartment complexes situated near wooded rolling hills.

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.

“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.”

Police said a portion of a nearby highway would be shut in both directions.

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