A bomber – now dead after being cornered by police – terrorized the Austin, Texas community with a series of explosions that have killed two people – Draylen Mason and Anthony Stephan House – and injured five more people.
Another bombing was reported on March 18, 2018 – making four total in the month of March – after the police chief urged the bomber to give himself or herself up. By the time the spree was over, there were six bombings in all.
The bombs – at least the first ones – arrived in cardboard packages and exploded when they were opened. “What caused this in these instances was a suspicious package that no one was suspecting or expecting,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said. The Austin police chief now says that a “trip wire” was used to detonate the device in the most recent incident on March 18.
Who are the victims of the Austin bombings? It’s not clear why the victims were targeted, but Mason and House were prominent members of Austin’s African-American community. There was a reward for information leading to the apprehension of the bomber.
Here’s what you need to know about all of the victims:
Will Grote & Colton Mathis
The police chief had tried to send a message to the bomber, saying that he hoped the person or persons would “reach out to us before anyone else is injured or killed. We want to understand what brought you to this point and listen to you.” The response? Another explosion occurred on the evening of Sunday, March 18, injuring two men in their 20s, Will Grote and Colton Mathis.
The Austin police chief said in a March 18 news conference of the latest blast, “We have two victims who have been transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.” But he said police wanted anyone in a half mile radius of the explosion to stay inside their homes, at least until daylight, and police deem the area safe. “Do not touch any packages or anything that looks like a package,” he said. “It’s obvious it has been an explosion. It’s obvious it has caused significant injuries to two people.” Police said they were clearing a second item – a backpack – in the area to see if it’s safe.
The chief later said a trip wire was used to detonate the device, although police need to scour the area at daylight to be sure, and he said authorities are operating with the premise that the latest bombing is related to the other ones. He said the victims were either riding or pushing bicycles on the sidewalk when the device went off.
The latest bombing injured two men in their 20s, according to emergency management officials. “FINAL: Critical Incident @ 4800blk Dawn Song Dr (correct incident address), Only 1 incident location has been confirmed. #ATCEMSMedics have transported X2 ~20’s Males to SAMC w/serious, but not expected to be life-threatening injuries. Refer all inquires to @Austin_Police,” wrote Austin-Travis County EMS on Twitter of the second bombing on March 18.
About half hour before that, the county EMS reported another explosion on Eagle Feather Drive. However, it later turned out that this explosion was believed to be the same as the first. Police have not yet released details of how the latest blast unfolded or whether the bomb was inside a package like the previous explosions.
Anthony Stephan House
Anthony Stephan House died when a package arrived at his home and exploded on March 2. He was the first victim of the bomber. House, 39, lived in the Harris Ridge neighborhood of Austin, Texas. A package arrived at his home in the early morning hours, and it contained a device that exploded when the package was opened. House was the married father of a young child.
House graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos in 2008. He obtained a bachelor of business administration from the university. According to his Facebook page, House worked as a senior project manager at Texas Quarries, a company that supplies Texas limestone to clients all over the United States. According to his LinkedIn page, he had worked on projects for companies including Toyota One north American Headquarters, UT Education and engineering School, and UT Robert Rowlin Hall.
Draylen Mason & His Mother
Draylen Mason, 17, was the second victim to die in the package bombs that were delivered to Austin homes. “Mason was killed Monday morning when a package exploded in the kitchen of his Austin home as it was being opened. His mother is in stable condition,” CNN reported. Mason was a talented musician.
According to his Facebook page, he was a Bassist at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Principal Double Bass at Austin Youth Orchestra, and Principal Bassist at Austin Soundwaves. He went to East Austin College Prep and was from Austin, Texas.
Unidentified Woman & FedEx Worker
On March 12, another explosion “severely wounded a 75-year-old Hispanic woman. Her name has not been released. She was in critical condition,” CNN reported. She was the third victim. The woman found a mysterious package left outside her home. She picked it up and it exploded before she opened it, according to The Los Angeles Times.
A FedEx worker also suffered non life-threatening injuries on March 20 when a package attributed to the bomber exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx facility.
You can learn more about House here: