The suspect in five bombings that left two people dead and five others injured in Austin, Texas, has died after a confrontation with police in Round Rock, authorities said Wednesday morning. He has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt.
Police Chief Brian Manley said Wednesday night that the bomber left behind a video “confession” that does not talk about terrorism or hate. Manley said the video revealed a “challenged young man” who talked about problems in his personal life that led him to the point he was at.
“This was a very troubled young man,” Manley said. “His comments were not all reflective of a hate-based or terrorism-based approach to what he did.”
Manley said the bomber did not give any indication of why he picked the targets he did. Conditt talked about “actions he was willing to take in the future,” but he did not give specifics. The chief added that Conditt gave indications that he knew police were closing in on him. The video was recorded Tuesday night.
Conditt, 23, was identified as the serial bomber suspect on Tuesday after two devices, one that exploded, were located in FedEx facilities near Austin. Those packages led police to a FedEx shipping facility, where surveillance video showed a man dropping off the packages, WOIA-TV reports. Police then tracked the suspect to a Round Rock hotel where shots were fired and the suspect was found dead after setting off a sixth bomb, KVUE-TV reports. An Austin police officer was injured in the final blast.
Conditt is from Pflugerville and police are not yet ruling out that others were involved in the bombings, KTBC-TV reports. Manley said “This investigation is ongoing. We want to make sure that we confirmed that he either acted alone or if there were any accomplices that we identify them. We believe this individual is responsible for all incidents that have taken place in Austin starting on March 2 and those that have occurred since then as well.”
The ATF has said they believe he is responsible for making all of the bombs, but it has still not been determined if he had any help in building or setting them.
The bombings, which began March 2, left a 39-year-old father and a 17-year-old boy dead, while a woman in her 40s and a 75-year-old woman were critically injured. Two men in their 20s were wounded in the fourth attack, and a FedEx employee suffered a concussion in the fifth explosion.
The first explosion happened about 6:55 a.m. on March 2 in the 1100 block of Haverford Drive, police said. A 39-year-old man, Anthony Stephan House, was killed. The second explosion occurred on March 12 about 6:45 a.m. in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive. That blast killed a 17-year-old boy and sent a woman in her 40s to the hospital with serious injuries. The third blast happened about 11:50 a.m. in the 6700 block of Galindo Street. A 75-year-old woman was taken to the hospital with serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
The fourth attack occurred March 18 about 8:30 p.m. Two men were walking on the side of the road when the trip-wire triggered bomb exploded, sending shrapnel spraying at their legs and knocking them off their feet.
Police responded to hundreds of calls for suspicious packages as they asked the community to be on high alert.
“It has been a long almost three weeks for the community of Austin as we have dealt with package bombs and other types of bombs that have been placed throughout our community,” Manley said. “We have seen members of our community who have lost their lives and others whose lives have been forever changes do to significant injuries. This is the culmination of three very long weeks for our community.”
In a statement, Conditt’s family said, “We are devastated and broken at the news that our family could be in involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in. Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, we pray and we try to inspire and serve others. Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and we are in shock. Please respect our privacy as we deal with this terrible, terrible knowledge and try to support each other through this time.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Conditt, Whose Bombs Were Linked Through an ‘Exotic Battery’ He Used, ‘Detonated Himself’ Along the Side of a Highway After Fleeing From a Hotel Parking Lot
Authorities identified the suspect, Mark Conditt, about 9 p.m. Tuesday night after developing several leads over a 24 to 36-hour period, including surveillance video taken at a South Austin FedEx shipping center, WFAA-TV reports. The surveillance video showed a man appearing to wear a wig and gloves while dropping off packages at the store.
Conditt used an “exotic” and foreign battery in each of his explosives, which allowed authorities to link the bombings together, NBC News reports. The batteries came from Asia, according to NBC News.
“These weren’t your store-bought Duracells,” one official told NBC News.
Using “cell phone technology,” investigators tracked Conditt to Round Rock. He turned on his cell phone just about two hours before he died, which led authorities to him, according to NBC News.
Federal authorities had obtained a federal criminal complaint charging Conditt with unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device. An arrest warrant was signed by a judge Tuesday night, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a press release.
“Hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement officers worked together to identify and locate Conditt. I was awed by their professionalism, collaborative spirit, and indefatigable commitment to protecting the public,” U.S. Attorney John F. Bash said in a statement. “I send my deepest condolences to the families of Anthony Stephan House and Draylen Mason, and I pray for the recovery of the surviving victims of these monstrous crimes.”
The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint remains under seal as the investigation is still ongoing. The county prosecutor, meanwhile, was preparing a capital murder case and authorities said they would have sought the death penalty.
After locating Conditt, investigators were led to a Red Roof Inn on Interstate 35 in Round Rock, WFAA reports. Surveillance teams were looking for the suspect in that area and spotted his car in the hotel parking lot, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said. Local police and federal agents “took up positions around the hotel awaiting the arrival of” tactical teams, Manley said, “because we wanted to have ballistic vehicles” to take the suspect into custody “as safely as possible.”
Manley said while they were waiting for the vehicles to arrive, the suspect started to drive away and officers began following him. But the suspect then drove his vehicle into a ditch on the side of the road and stopped. He then “detonated himself,” KVUE-TV reports.
“As members of the Austin Police Department SWAT team approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated a bomb inside the vehicle, knocking one of our SWAT officers back,” Manley said. “One of our SWAT officers fired at the suspect as well. The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle.”
It is not yet known if the suspect died from the blast or from gunshots fired by the officer. Manley said the officer-involved shooting will be investigated.
“We did have one officer who was injured when that bomb detonated as he approached the vehicle, suffering minor injuries and we had one officer who fired his weapon at the suspect,” Manley said. “That officer has been with the Austin Police Department for 11 years and is a member of our SWAT team. As is our standard practice, he will be placed on administrative duty while we conduct the necessary investigations into what happened here.”
Those officers have not been identified.
Police said they are not sure if the suspect was heading to set another bomb, but he clearly had a device with him at the time of his death, which he used to kill himself.
Before he was caught, police had said they were searching for a serial bomber.
“We are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Monday morning at a press briefing after the fourth bomb. “We have seen similarities in the device that exploded here last night and the other three devices that have exploded in Austin starting March 2. This is preliminary information, but we have seen similarities. The big difference in this device is we believe a trip wire was used in this device.”
The case took a turn Tuesday when a device exploded just after midnight at a FedEx ground delivery sorting facility in Schertz, about 65 miles south of Austin near San Antonio. The explosion left a FedEx employee with a concussion, but no one was seriously injured. A second package containing an unexploded device was also located at a FedEx facility, authorities said.
Police then tracked those packages to a FedEx Office store in Sunset Valley, a small suburb surrounded by Austin. That store had security cameras and the suspect was recorded, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Store receipts showed suspicious transactions from the suspect and police obtained a search warrant for his Google search history that showed him conducting searches they considered suspicious, according to the Statesman.
Governor Greg Abbott told reporters that authorities had been monitoring Conditt’s movements for about 24 hours before his death.
Abbott also said that Conditt bought materials at Home Depot, including a number of “children at play” signs, one of which was used in the trip-wire bombing. Overhead photos show the damaged sign in the debris from that blast. It appears to be a red “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here,” sign.
Rep. Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Los Angeles Times that the Home Depot purchases led authorities to Conditt. Investigators went to every hardware store in the Austin area to find buyers who had made large purchases of nails, which were used as shrapnel in the bombs, McCaul told the newspaper.
“The fatal mistake that led law enforcement to him — because he was pretty good at evading surveillance cameras — was when he walked into Home Depot,” McCaul told the LA Times. He said Conditt was wearing a wig when he walked into the store, but then walked to a vehicle with a license plate connected to his name when he exited the store. Investigators found his cell phone number, but it had been off for “a while,” McCaul said, until Conditt turned it on early Wednesday morning.
Abbott told reporters that investigators used the suspect’s phone number to place him at each of the bombing sites by looking at cell phone tower records.
The governor also said authorities are trying to figure out if there were any other bombs in the pipeline and where the devices were built. They are speaking to his family, friends, roommates and anyone else who has information or possibly came in contact with him.
Police have not said who the FedEx packages were being sent to, but said investigators have been in contact with them. At least one of the packages had an address label listing an address in South Austin that does not exist and a fake name, “Kelly Killmore,” KABB-TV reports.
According to the Statesman, Google search records obtained by authorities showed Conditt had been looking up other addresses in Austin and the surrounding area. Troopers were sent to homes in Cedar Park Tuesday night to check front porches and warn residents they could be in danger, the newspaper reports.
Abbott told reporters it appears that the targets were chosen at random. He said officers searching the suspect’s home are proceeding slowly because of concerns about booby traps or other explosives.
“We have talked many times over the past couple of weeks about the level of partnership that has taken place with our federal officials, our local officials and our police department to bring this to an end,” Manley said. “And through all of this hard work we identified several leads throughout the course of the weeks, but beginning with in the past 24 to 36 hours we started getting information on one person of interest that we continued to work on and we continued to develop and as we continued to do our investigations, this person of interest ultimately moved to being a suspect and that’s what we began focusing on, was his involvement in these crimes.”
Manley added, “There were several leads that led us to this person. We had a lot of evidence that came to us via video sources as well as witnesses. … We do believe that all of these are related and that he is responsible for these, based on the similarities that we have seen in all of the devices and in the evidence we are finding from those that did detonate.”
2. He Left Behind a Video ‘Confession’ in Which He Talked About the Devices He Built & Why He Did What He Did, but Did Not Mention ‘Hate’ or ‘Terrorism,’ Police Say
Police Chief Brian Manley said the suspect left behind a video on his cell phone that was about 25 minutes long. In the video, which Manley described as a “confession,” Conditt provided details about the six devices that exploded around Austin and the seventh that he detonated when police tried to take him into custody.
Manley called the statements made by Conditt the “outcry of a challenged young man, talking about his challenges in life.”
The video has not been made public and the investigation into his motive is continuing.
A federal law enforcement source told CNN that the suspect wanted to create “mayhem and death. The source said it did not appear that the bomber was targeting any one group, according to CNN.
Rep. Mike McCaul told the Los Angeles Times that Conditt left behind what appeared to be a “target list,” with “additional addresses we believe he was using for future targets.” McCaul added, “It’s hard to make any rhyme or reason out of the victims.”
There had been fears in the community that African Americans were being targeted by the bomber. The first three victims were black, while the fourth victim was Hispanic and the final two victims were white.
“That’s been the question all along,” Manley said Monday after being asked when the case would be called domestic terrorism. “Is this terrorism? Is this hate related? And we’re early on in the investigation today, we’ve only gotten into the preliminary phases and as the day goes on, that is something we are going to try to analyze. … As we look at this individual and the pattern, we will have to determine if we see a specific ideology behind this or something that will lead us along with our federal partners to make that decision.”
Manley added, “We were not willing to classify this as terrorism, as hate, because we just don’t know enough. And what we have seen now is a significant change from what appeared to be three very targeted attacks to what last night was an attack that would have hit a random victim that happened to walk by.”
An African-American woman who lives near the house where the third bomb exploded, injuring her Hispanic neighbor, was possibly mistaken as a member of a prominent Austin family that has connections to the first two bombings, according to the Austin American Statesman. The first victim, Anthony House, is the son of Rev. Freddie Dixon, who is a close friend of Dr. Norman Mason, the grandfather of Draylen Mason, the second victim. The woman whose house is near the third explosion has the last name Mason, but is not related to the family, the newspaper reports.
“They have a long history and go to the same church,” Nelson Linder the local NAACP chapter president, told NBC News about the House and Mason families.
Manley previously told reporters after the first three bombs, “We cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this, but we’re not saying that’s the cause as well.”
3. Conditt Lived in Pflugerville With 2 Roommates in a House He Bought & Built With His Father, Was Homeschooled & Studied at Austin Community College
Mark Conditt lived on North Second Street in Pflugerville, according to local news reports. Police have shut down the area around his home, which is near Wilbarger Street. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Fox News that the suspect lived with two roommates, who are not considered to be suspects. They were being interviewed by police, Abbott said. The governor added that a “treasure trove” of information was found inside the house.
Police are also removing homemade explosive devices from the home and have evacuated some neighbors as a precaution.
Abbott said Conditt was unemployed and did not serve in the military. Public records show that he has lived in Pflugerville since he was a child, but also spent some time living in Austin.
He was homeschooled and completed high school in 2013, according to a post on his mother’s Facebook page.
“I officially graduated Mark from High School on Friday. 1 down, 3 to go. He has 30 hrs of college credit too, but he’s thinking of taking some time to figure out what he wants to do….maybe a mission trip. Thanks to everyone for your support over the years,” Danene Conditt wrote in February 2013.
Conditt, who has three younger sisters, also took classes at Austin Community College, the Austin American-Statesman reports. He did not graduate, the school said.
“I know this is a cliché but I just can’t imagine that,” a neighbor who grew up with Conditt on Pflueger Street, but did not want to be named, told the Statesman. The home where Conditt grew up and where his mother lives is about a half-mile away from the home where he was living.
Another neighbor told MSNBC, “He seemed like a very normal kid … Over the years there’s nothing I can point to.”
According to public records, he purchased the Pflugerville property on North Second Street with his father, William Patrick “Pat” Conditt, in February 2017. It is valued at $68,868. The neighbor told the Statesman that Conditt was living in a home there that he built with his father’s help.
Conditt worked at one point at Crux Semicodncutor in Austin as a “purchasing agent/buyer/shipping and receiving,” according to a profile on a job recruiting website. He also worked as a computer repair technician.
A spokesperson for Crux told KVUE-TV that Conditt was “quiet, introverted and reserved.”
Police said the suspect, who they have not publicly named, is 24, but records indicate Conditt is actually 23, and would have turned 24 in June.
Conditt does not appear to have a criminal record in either Williamson or Travis counties, where Austin and Pflugerville are located, but it is not known if he had been arrested elsewhere.
His grandmother, Mary Conditt, told CNN she was shocked to learn her grandson was the suspected bomber. She called him “very kind” and a “loving person,” adding that he was “very quiet and a deep thinker.”
She told CNN that he was “looking forward to figuring out what most kids are – figuring out his life and visiting his family and being close to them.”
Mary Conditt said her grandson never showed any signs of being violent or wanting to harm people.
“Oh my gosh no. If anything, he’s low key and peaceful,” she told CNN. “He’s from a family that is so tight, that works so hard to raise their children correctly. It’s just horrible.”
Conditt’s father is an account executive for an information technology company, according to his Linkedin profile. Mark Conditt’s parents are both involved in Amway, the multi-level marketing company, and run a business centered around that out of their home.
Jeremiah Jenson, 24, who was homeschooled in the same community as Conditt, told the Statesman, “It’s really sad to think that one of my friends succumbed to hatred of some sort. I have no idea what caused him to make those bombs. Whatever it was I wish he would have reached out to me and asked for help or something.”
Jenson told the newspaper that Conditt attended Austin Stone Community Church, a Christian church on St. John’s Avenue.
“I know faith was a serious thing for him,” he told the Statesman. “I don’t know if he held onto his faith or not. … The kind of anger that he expressed and the kind of hate that he succumbed to — that’s not what he believed in in high school. I don’t know what happened along the way. This wasn’t him.”
4. Conditt Who Wrote Blog Posts About His Conservative Beliefs in 2012 Was Part of a Conservative Christian Survivalist Group When He Was Growing Up
Police have said they are analyzing Conditt’ social media profiles, but few are publicly available. A Facebook profile that did not include any personal information or photos has been taken down from the site, while Instagram and Twitter accounts under his name could not be immediately found. A Linkedin profile also revealed little information about Conditt.
But in 2012, Conditt created and briefly posted on a blog on the website Blogger.com that he called “Defining My Stance.” On that blog he wrote about his takes on controversial topics, including gay marriage, abortion, terrorism, the death penalty and sex offender registration. The blog appeared to be connected to a class he was taking at the time. He was homeschooled, but his mother wrote on Facebook that her son had been taking college classes while finishing his high school studies.
“My name is Mark Conditt. I enjoy cycling, parkour, tennis, reading, and listening to music. I am not that politically inclined,” he wrote in his introduction. “I view myself as a conservative, but I don’t think I have enough information to defend my stance as well as it should be defended. The reasons I am taking this class is because I want to understand the US government, and I hope that it will help me clarify my stance, and then defend it.”
In one post, Conditt argued that gay marriage should be illegal:
The government shouldn’t tell them whom they can and cannot marry, but we shouldn’t even have this problem! Homosexuality is not natural. Just look at the male and female bodies. They are obviously designed to couple. The natural design is apparent. It is not natural to couple male with male and female with female. It would be like trying to fit two screws together and to nuts together and then say, “See, it’s natural for them to go together.”
In addition, political protection of a sexual practice is ludicrous. I do not believe it is proper to pass laws stating that homosexuals have ‘rights.’ What about pedophilia or bestiality? These are sexual practices. Should they also be protected by law? If homosexuality is protected by law, why not those as well?
In another post, he responded to a classmate who said abortion should be free.
“First, if a women does not want a baby, or is incapable of taking care of one, she should not participate in activities that were made for that reason. Second, if we are going to give women free abortions, why not give men free condoms, or the like? Is it not up to the couple to take these preventive measures?,” he wrote. “This is just my view on the subject, but if you can’t provide for a child, then don’t have sex.”
He also argued that “we should do away with sex offender registration.” He also wrote a blog post responding to a Washington Post commentary by Marc A. Thiessen that argued against the release of an Al Qaeda terrorist who had made a deal with the U.S. government.
“I agree with Mr. Thiessen. I think that it is just plain dumb to release a terrorist, much less a senior one – no matter what he can provide,” he wrote.
Conditt and his sisters were part of a conservative Christian survivalist community when they were growing up, Cassia Schultz, 21, told Buzzfeed News. They were part of Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT), which Buzzfeed describes as a “Bible study and outdoors group for homeschooled kids that included monthly activities such as archery, gun skills, and water balloon fights.”
She said Conditt’s family was “more conservative, strictly religious,” and described him as a “pretty normal kid,” who never showed any signs of violence.
“A lot of us were very into science; we would discuss chemicals and how to mix them and which ones were dangerous,” Schultz told Buzzfeed. “We were into weapons and stuff. A lot of us did role-playing, and RPG [role-playing games]; we’d have foam weapons and act out a battle.”
5. The Trip Wire Bombing Showed More Sophistication & Skill by the Bomber Than the First 3 Bombs Left Outside Homes, Authorities Said
The fourth bombing indicated a change in tactics for the bomber, who has now been identified as Mark Conditt.
First responders were called to the scene of the explosion about 8:30 p.m. on March 18, police said. According to Fox 7, witnesses heard a loud bang. According to KVUE-TV, one of the victims appeared to have nails in his leg:
“We have made the scene safe this morning,” Police Chief Brian Manley said at a Monday morning press briefing. “We held the scene last night given that it was dark and that we believe a trip wire may have been in effect on that device. Given the safety concerns that gave us not only for this neighborhood but for all of the public safety professionals that are here working this, we held the scene overnight so that we can process it in daylight in a much safer way.”
The area was swept for additional devices Monday morning, but none were found, Manley said. Specialists from the ATF and the FBI were at the scene Monday to conduct “post-blast investigation.”
Manley said additional resources were being brought to Austin to assist, including bomb technicians from San Antonio and Houston and the Texas Department of Public Safety is also assisting. More than 500 agents and their teams have been working in Austin from federal agencies, Manley said at the time.
Manley said, “There’s still a significant amount of evidence, as you can imagine with a blast scene like this, the evidence is strewn across a quite a significant distance and it’s going to take us a while to methodically go through and collect this evidence so that we get it right.”
He also gave an updated safety message to Austin residents.
“In the past we’ve been talking about the importance of not touching suspicious packages, not moving packages, not handling packages. The belief that we are now dealing with someone who is using trip wires shows a higher level of sophistication, a higher level of skill, so now what we are imploring the community to do is if you see any suspicious object or item that looks out of place, do not even approach it, but instead call 911 and report that to the police department so that we can send out folks to check that and ensure that it is safe,” Manley said. “Again, do not approach these suspicious items, anything you see, whether it be a bag, a backpack, a box, this is why we have avoided giving specific descriptions of the prior three devices because it was never confirmed that would be the design that this suspect or suspects would stick with.”
Frederick Milanowski, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Houston field office, said Monday morning, “This device is a little more sophisticated from what we have seen to date. (A) Trip wire is a victim actuated switch. It literally uses some kind of wire and when there is pressure is put on that wire it activates or detonates the device. So it can be either from tripping or if it or picking up the package, any tension that is put on that wire, sometimes it’s thin filament, sometimes it’s fishing line, but like the chief, said we are even more concerned now that if people see something suspicious that they just stay away from it altogether and contact law enforcement, because if they move that package or step on that trip wire, it’s likely to detonate.”
Milanowski said the evidence from the previous devices were sent to the ATF’s national laboratory and the evidence from the fourth device would also be sent there.
Christopher Combs, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio field office, said Monday they made an “unprecedented response to Austin” to support the local law enforcement.
“With this trip wire, this changes things,” Combs said. “It’s more sophisticated, it’s not targeted to individuals, we are very concerned that with trip wires a child can be walking down the sidewalk and hit something, it is very important that here in Austin, if anyone sees anything suspicious, do not go near that package and immediately call law enforcement.”
Manley said the victims were still receiving care in the hospital, but investigators did have initial conversations with them to get an idea of where the device was.
“The device was sitting next to a fence,” Manley said. “The trip wire can be a filament wire, it can be fishing line, it can be a metal wire, so that’s why people just need to pay attention to see if there is a device that is seeded somewhere near, because the trip wire would be attached to the device and it would pull on it to activate.”
Manley said the victims were walking along a roadway on the sidewalk or the grassy area between the street and the fence.
Anthony Stephan House, 39, was killed in the first explosion on March 2 in the 1100 block of Haverford Drive. The blast occurred about 6:55 a.m. Police Chief Brian Manley said the device was “powerful” and caused significant damage to the front porch area of the home.
House was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
“That case was being investigated as a suspicious death,” Police Chief Brian Manley said on March 12. “It is now being reclassified and is now a homicide investigation as well. We are looking at these incidents as being related based on similarities that we have seen and the initial evidence that we have on hand here today compared to what we found on the scene of that explosion that took place a week back.”
The second explosion occurred on March 12 about 6:45 a.m. in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive, authorities said. It happened in a single-family house and appears to have been caused by a package that was placed on the porch. The explosion caused “significant” damage to the home, Police Chief Brian Manley said.
“What we understand at this point is that earlier this morning, one of the residents went out front, and there was a package on the front doorstep,” Manley said at a press conference. “They brought that package inside the residence and as they opened that package, both victims were in the kitchen and the package exploded causing the injuries that resulted in the young man’s death and the injuries to the adult female.”
The victim has been identified as 17-year-old Draylen Mason. His mother was injured.
“The United States Postal Service has reviewed its records and we do not believe at all that this was a delivery that came through the postal service,” Manley said. “The initial indication is that this was not a package that was delivered by any mail service. It was place on the front door step.”
Manley added, “The damage is significant, and there’s a lot of evidence that needs to be collected.”
He said the incident is, “very similar” to the March 2 incident. “That incident also occurred in the morning hours when the victim in that case went out front and found a package on their front steps that exploded, causing that individual’s death.”
Police said multiple 911 calls were made to report the third explosion, which sent a 75-year-old woman to the hospital with serious injuries that were at first feared to be life-threatening. Another woman, in her 80s, was evaluated at the scene, but was not injured in the blast, Austin-Travis County EMS said.
The explosion occurred about 11:50 a.m., about an hour after police and the FBI held a briefing at the scene of the other March 12 explosion. Manley and other officials left the first scene to head to the second, which was in the 6700 block of Galindo Street.
“Similar to the other two incidents … is that the victim in this incident came outside of her residence and found a package out front and she picked up the package and at that point the box detonated,” Manley said. “She was significantly injured in that explosion. We are praying and thinking of her and hoping for a recovery from this incident.”
The Galindo Street home is about 16 miles away from the Haverford Drive home where the first explosion occurred on March 2. It is about 6 miles away from the Oldfort Hill Drive home where the second explosion occurred.
On Sunday, just hours before the fourth bombing, the reward for information about the three bombings was increased to $115,000.
“We need this to stop, we’re very concerned that people can get hurt by this just by walking now, we have trip wires. $100,000 is a lot of money. So I’m hoping that someone knows something that they can call us and help us stop what’s going on here,” Combs said at the time.
“We believe that the recent explosive incidents that have occurred in the city of Austin were meant to send a message,” Manley said Sunday. “The person or persons understands what that message is and are responsible for constructing or delivering the devices and we hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed out of this event.”
He added, “These events in Austin have garnered worldwide attention and we assure you that we are listening. We want to understand what brought you to this point and we want to listen to you.”
Manley said Monday, “This has to be a community response. This is something we are going to solve as a community. The officers that are working the neighborhoods are paying attention not only for the suspicious packages but also for items that may look out of place. The Department of Public Safety is going to send additional troopers into Austin to help us patrol and be visible and look for those suspicious items or just to inform the community of where we are at.”
Even with the suspected bomber dead, authorities are still warning residents of Austin and other Central Texas communities to stay alert.
“We have talked about the importance of remaining vigilant and looking out for each other. I want to continue that message as we stand her this morning though, because we don’t know where this suspect has spent last 24 and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left in the community,” Manley said Wednesday after announcing the suspect’s death. “If you see something that looks suspicious, if you see something that is out of place, if you see something that gives you concern, call 911 and let us know so that we don’t experience anymore tragedies in our communities because we have had far to many over the past three weeks.”
Milanowski echoed that sentiment.
“I also want to thank the public who continue to support us and cooperate with us and continued to send in tips, and as the chief said, we want them to continue to be vigilant,” Milanowski said Wednesday morning. “We are concerned that there still may be other devices out there and we want to ensure that if people see suspicious packages or bags, they continue to call 911 and report that to police so we can respond and deal with those packages.”
Combs said at the Wednesday press conference, “Today is a great day for law enforcement. I’d like to thank the partners, there’s an exceptional relationship here in Texas, particularly in Austin. Chief Manley did an unbelievable job. The federal government brought the full resources of federal law enforcement here to solve this and to stop the injuring and the killing that was occurring.”
Combs added, “We are not done yet. It is a long day ahead, we are concerned that there may be other packages that are out there. We need the public to remain vigilant, especially today as we go through this investigation. We will be here as long as it takes with our partners to figure out exactly what happened, why it happened and how it happened. This is what law enforcement does everyday in this country. The brave men and women of the Austin Police Department put their lives on the line tonight to stop this man from setting off bombs.”
President Donald Trump, who had previously called the bombings “terrible” and the bomber “a very, very sick individual,” tweeted Wednesday morning, “AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted, “BIG NEWS. The Austin Bomber is dead. More work needs to be done to ensure no more bombs had been sent before he died. The investigation continues to learn more information. Congratulations to the combined law enforcement effort.”