Several people were hospitalized after being shot and injured in Shreveport, Louisiana, while a manhunt was underway Sunday for a former sheriff’s deputy wanted in the fatal shooting of three people in Austin, Texas, as the United States encountered a wave of violence and new shootings across the nation.
CBS-affiliated television station KSLA reported late Sunday that five people were hospitalized after "numerous shots were fired," the third multiple shooting reported in the U.S. within 24 hours.
In a briefing to local news outlets, police said they were in the first stages of investigating the incident, without confirming the number of people admitted to the hospital nor their condition. Police officers were responding to traffic congestion reports when shots were heard, a police spokesperson told reporters.
"We responded this evening to a traffic congestion and during that congestion, numerous shots were fired," the spokesperson said, as reported by Reuters.
One victim was shot in the head, while another suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to local news outlet Love Shreveport-Bossier. Sunday's incidents came with the U.S. already on edge over a surge in shootings in recent weeks.
A gunman killed eight workers and himself at an Indianapolis FedEx center Thursday night, with at least seven deadly mass shootings reported in the U.S. over the past month. In Shreveport, located in northwest Louisiana, multiple police units were dispatched to the scene of the incident, which took place around 9 p.m. local time Sunday on Hearne Avenue, according to the KSLA report.
Victims were taken to Ochsners LSU Health and other local hospitals, the report added. Reuters was not immediately able to contact local police. The Shreveport mayor's office did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.
Earlier Sunday three people died at an apartment complex in Austin, Texas and authorities were hunting for a former deputy sheriff wanted in connection with the fatal shooting. Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said those who live near where the shooting happened late Sunday morning no longer had to shelter in place, but he said they should “remain vigilant.” He said officials were transitioning the search for Stephen Broderick, 41, from that area to a “fugitive search.”
"The victims were all known to this suspect," Chacon said. "At this point, we do not think this individual is out there targeting random people to shoot. That does not mean he is not dangerous."
Earlier in the day, nearby residents had been asked to shelter in place and to call their neighbors to check on them. Chacon had said earlier that officials were concerned that Broderick “might possibly take a hostage and be himself sheltered somewhere waiting for us to leave.”
Chacon said Broderick is 5 feet, 7 inches (1.7 meters) tall and black. He was wearing a gray hoodie, sunglasses and a baseball cap. Chacon said police do not know if he is in a vehicle or on foot. He said that Broderick was a former deputy officer with the Travis County sheriff’s office, which is based in Austin.
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 a $50,000 bond. He said that the district attorney’s office Sunday filed a motion to revoke that bond and is actively supporting law enforcement as they pursue Broderick.
The sheriff’s spokesperson, Kristen Dark, told the Austin American-Statesman that Broderick, a property crimes detective, resigned after the arrest. The newspaper also reports that Broderick’s wife filed for a protective order and divorce shortly after his arrest.
Chacon said Broderick is suspected of the killing of two Hispanic women and one black man. He said Broderick knew the victims but did not elaborate on how, or provide a motive for the shootings. 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 facedown on the ground.
“I saw the little boy point down the street,” Torres said, according to remarks carried by The Associated Press (AP). “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.”
Chacon said the three were not shot in a building but did not give any further details. Following the shooting, there was a large presence of emergency responders at the scene, including dozens of police cars, several ambulances, two SWAT trucks and two police helicopters. Later Sunday, law enforcement began leaving the area. The area includes a strip mall containing several retail stores and large apartment complexes situated near wooded rolling hills.
Separately, three people were killed and two wounded in a shooting at a bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, in the early hours of Sunday.
The spate of shootings has increased public pressure to tighten gun regulations. Most Americans support tougher gun laws, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling, but Washington has done little to address the problem in recent years.
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