3 package bombs kill 2; police say they’re linked
AUSTIN, TEXAS >> Police have linked three package bombings that have killed two residents in Austin, Texas, over the last 10 days, raising fears that a serial bomber is targeting the city as hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers flock to town for South by Southwest.
Two of the bombings happened Monday morning in residential areas in the eastern half of the city, and police have not identified a suspect or given a possible motive as federal officials joined the investigation.
The victims of the first two bombings were black, raising fears early Monday that the Austinites were targeted because of their race. A Latina was the victim of the third bombing, after which police declined to speculate on a possible pattern.
“We are not ruling anything out at this point,” Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference. “We’re imploring the community, if you know anything about these attacks, it is imperative that you come forward and let us know. We have innocent people getting hurt across this community.”
Before 7 a.m. Monday residents at one home in eastern Austin found a mysterious package on their doorstep and brought it inside, Manley said.
When they began opening the package in their kitchen, the package exploded, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring a woman who was taken the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Manley said.
Several hours later, shortly before noon and about 5 miles to the south, a 75-year-old woman found a similar mysterious package on her porch. “She picked up the package, and at that point the explosion, the box detonated,” Manley said. The woman remained in critical condition Monday afternoon with life-threatening injuries.
The two bombings came a little over a week after a northeastern Austin resident, Anthony Stephan House, 39, was killed in a “very similar” package bombing, Manley said.
The “average-sized” packages don’t appear to have been sent through traditional delivery services such as the
U.S. Postal Service or UPS, and were left without ringing the bell, said Manley.